Aldermen unanimously promoted Buddy Sanders, Starkville’s former city planner, to community developer and began the process to fill his now-vacant position Tuesday.
Sanders, who joined the city’s community development department in 2013, was selected out of a four-person candidate pool after one applicant dropped out of contention before public interviews. His salary was set at $68,000.
Sanders replaces former Community Developer William Snowden, the first to fill the position, who resigned last year due to medical issues.
The board approved advertising for the vacant city planner position and set its salary at $55,000.
Sanders joins Taylor Adams, Lesa Hardin and Frank Nichols as department heads who were promoted to their current positions internally by the board of aldermen. Adams replaced former Chief Administrative Officer Lynn Spruill, and his prior job, city clerk, was filled by former Deputy City Clerk Hardin. Nichols replaced former Starkville police Chief David Lindley after Lindley retired at the end of 2013.
City leaders applauded Sanders’ job performance as city planner, especially since he has served as the de facto community development employee in the wake of Snowden’s exit. Aldermen said they envision Sanders’ role as a facilitator for developments, one who will work to find creative solutions to alleviate issues while following Starkville’s zoning rules and form-based codes.
Ward 5 Alderman Scott Maynard said Sanders’ experience and local feedback from the business community helped set the incoming community developer apart from his competition.
“We had a very, very strong applicant pool to choose from, but he was an excellent candidate for this position,” Maynard said. “We look forward now to filling his position so he can have a full staff and do his job effectively.”
“I’m very grateful for the support shown by all of the board members, and I look forward to building relationships between our community’s developers and to making Starkville a better place,” Sanders said after his hire was approved.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch