Columbus City Planner and Community Development Director Christina Berry is resigning.
Berry began working for the city in 2010. Her resignation, effective Monday, is an item on the consent agenda for Tuesday’s city council meeting.
Councilmen agree to all items on the consent agenda at one time. If it remains on the consent agenda, it can be approved without an individual vote or discussion.
Ward 4 Councilman Marty Turner said he’s thankful for the good Berry has done for the city.
“I appreciate Ms. Berry’s work that she’s done for the city,” Turner said. “Wherever she goes, she will be an addition to the organization she joins. I wish her well, and if there’s anything I can do for her, I will help her.”
It’s currently unclear when the city will begin a search for Berry’s replacement. Turner said whenever the search begins, the city will have a tall order in replacing Berry.
“It will be hard to replace her,” he said. “She was very dedicated.”
In the meantime, Turner said the city will turn to Assistant Community Planner George Irby to fill Berry’s role until her permanent successor is hired.
Irby confirmed he’s discussed the matter with city officials and will fill the interim role.
“I enjoyed working with Christina,” Irby said. “She was a refreshing addition to the city. She’s young. She came with ideas and vision. She worked on projects that are still showing fruits, like the Redevelopment Authority.
“She was an easy person to work for,” Irby later added. “I think she will be missed by the city and the people who worked for her.”
The Columbus Redevelopment Authority is a five-member body tasked with improving blighted areas of the city. The authority was created in August 2014 and is working to market the old S.D. Lee Middle School property on Military Road for possible commercial or residential development.
Ward 3 Councilman Charlie Box said Berry inquired about working part-time four or five months ago, but the council didn’t approve it. He said Berry, who has a young son, had been wanting to get closer to home in south Mississippi..
“I wouldn’t’ say anything negative about her,” Box said. “People just move on sometimes — especially people who are trying to take care of their families.
“I think she’s done a good job getting the Redevelopment Authority up and going, which I think is very important to the city,” he added. “I think that might be the biggest accomplishment for us she’s had. She’s done a good job.”
The Dispatch could not reach Berry for comment by press time.
A copy of Berry’s resignation letter was not immediately available due to city offices being closed on Friday.
Alex Holloway was formerly a reporter with The Dispatch.