Jefferson County’s Planning Division finally has a new planner, and while it may be Sal Maniaci’s first job, he brings some experience to bear.

Maniaci, 22, started May 23, days after graduating from with a bachelor’s degree in community planning from Missouri State University in Springfield.

A native of Washington, Maniaci spent last summer doing an internship in his native city, but the job required more of him than the average college intern.

“They didn’t have a planner on staff, and my boss had just been promoted to include other duties, so they let me make some presentations and staff reports,” he said. “In my 2 1/2 months there, I got to work closely with the mayor and the city council.”

County services director Kristi Bales said that experience was one of the reasons Maniaci’s resume stood out in the field of 15 applicants.

“He’s a recent graduate, but he comes in having a lot of practical experience in Washington,” she said. “We’ve been able to cut him loose on things that most new hires wouldn’t be able to do right away.”

Maniaci, a graduate of St. Borgia Regional High School in Washington, said he was looking to stay in the St. Louis area for his first professional experience and thought the job in Jefferson County would fill the bill.

“I’m still learning a lot about the county. I hadn’t been here much before. I’ve been to Arnold a few times, and in the Fenton and High Ridge areas, but the first time I’d ever been to Hillsboro was when I came here to interview,” he said.

Maniaci, who is single, replaces Justin Randall, who left the county in September after six years to become senior planner in O’Fallon, Ill. He joins Jay Rodenbeck, who has been working for the county since June 2007.

Editor’s Note: This story ran in the Jefferson County Leader newspaper.