Michael A. Harper, FAICP worked over 32 years as a public sector planning manager. During that time, he used paid and unpaid interns extensively. Harper's article focuses on the many ways to effectively engage interns and use their talents.
Professional planners can be a great resource for staffing local planning and zoning commissions (especially in smaller communities). That is, of course, as long as they can manage to wear both hats without conflict.