Many of Starkville’s primary department heads are up for reappointment Tuesday as the incoming board of aldermen takes control of local governance.
Those positions up for reappointment include jobs held by Chief Administrative Officer Lynn Spruill, City Clerk/Director of Finance Taylor Adams, Starkville Police Chief David Lindley, Starkville Fire Chief Rodger Mann, Personnel Officer Randy Boyd, Municipal Judge Rodney Faver, newly hired prosecutor Caroline Moore, Information Technology Director Joel Clements, sanitation director Emma Gibson-Gandy, Public Services Director Doug Devlin, community developer William Snowden, Court Administrator Tony Rook, Starkville Electric Department General Manager Terry Kemp and city attorney Chris Latimer.
Reappointments occur with every incoming board’s new term, and former Aldermen Jeremiah Dumas and Sandra Sistrunk stumped for the department leaders in their last meeting.
“We are fortunate to have an extraordinary group of department heads that are very skilled in their disciplines. Just as important, they care a great deal personally about the advancement of the city of Starkville. I could not ask for a better group of people to oversee the operations of the city,” Mayor Parker Wiseman said. “It’s an absolute no-brainer that each and every department head should be reappointed.”
The board will also consider appointing a mayor pro tempore, members of its audit and budget committee and a leader for the important group.
Chaired by Spruill, the previous budget committee’s board representation was comprised of Ward 6 Alderman Roy Perkins, former Ward 3 Alderman Eric Parker, Sistrunk and Wiseman. City staff, including Adams and city accountant Debbie Clark, provided ex-officio support.
Sistrunk also served as the mayor pro tempore, a position which serves in the place of the mayor in case of his or her temporary absence or disability.
Aldermen are also expected to address numerous vacancies and expiring commission seats Tuesday. Appointments to the parks, planning and zoning, municipal election and historic preservation committees are also listed on the upcoming agenda.
Starkville Parks Commission’s board has three empty seats effective today: Ward 5 Alderman Scott Maynard is required by law to relinquish his seat, Ward 6 representative Dorothy Isaac’s term expired and Ward 7 representative Chris Taylor previously turned in a letter of resignation from the board.
A recommendation to reappoint Isaac and name Ward 7 resident Betty A. Robertson can be found within the meeting’s e-packet.
Discussions on SPC appointments began shortly after the election cycle ended in June, but aldermen declined action on the matter.
The city’s e-packet shows others have expressed interest in the open positions, including former Ward 6 alderman candidate Lerin Pruitt, Mississippi State University kinesiology department’s sport administration program co-director Alan Morse (Ward 6), Trotter Lane resident Jane Loveless and former Parks and Playful City USA volunteer LeKesha Perry (Ward 5).
City officials previously said Loveless’ residence appears to fall within Ward 6’s boundaries.
The Ward 5 term expires next year, while the Ward 7 commissioner would roll off the board in 2017.
Wholesale changes will occur for Starkville’s election commission as terms for its entire five-person board expire today. The city previously received three letters of interest for the positions from residents Nancy Walsh, Julia Williams and Desmond Carson, but two others – Alfreda Outlaw and Jessie Schmidt – have since filed similar statements.
A planning and zoning appointment is also needed as Ward 4 Alderman Jason Walker transitions to his new city role. The e-packet shows only certified general appraiser William Michael Brooks has submitted a letter of interest for the position.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch