The City of Murfreesboro announced Tuesday (July 3) the launch of the new Development Services Division as the first major step in the process of reorganizing the City’s administrative structure for enhanced customer service.
City Manager Craig Tindall has appointed Sam Huddleston to serve as Executive Director for the newly reorganized Development Services Division. Huddleston has previously served as Assistant City Engineer for two years and seventeen years as Environmental Engineer for the City.
“We’re very excited to begin the process of reorganizing the City’s administrative structure to better serve our customers who are vital to economic development,” said City Manager Craig Tindall. “We think developers and engineers should not be hindered by a bifurcated process that slows planning and development. That’s why we’re calling the new emphasis on customer service ‘One City’ to provide easier access to a ‘one-stop shop’ for developers.”
‘One City’ customer service combines the Planning and Building and Codes departments under a new umbrella. The Development Services Division also includes Community Development and aspects of Engineering and the Urban Environmental Department.
As part of the reorganization, Planning Director Gary Whitaker will become Assistant City Manager for Development and Coordination in the City Manager’s Office. Whitaker has served as Planning Director Since January 2016 after serving as interim director following the departure of Joseph Aydelott in late 2014. Whitaker began his career with the City in February 1988 in the Building and Codes Department.
The process to hire a new Planning Director is underway and should be completed this summer. Until then, Assistant Planning Director Matthew Blomeley will serve as Acting Planning Director.
The new Development Services Division under Sam Huddleston and the Assistant City Manager for Development and Coordination headed by Whitaker begins the process of streamlining the span of control into seven divisions under the City Manager. The first new division is designed to enhance the City’s economic development with focus on re-developing downtown, utilizing tax increment financing incentives, locating the next major planned development area, and implementing the Bottoms and Highland Avenue studies. Whitaker’s newly-created role will focus heavily on economic development, working with the Rutherford County Chamber of Commerce and other economic development organizations. Whitaker will also oversee the City’s many large new construction projects.
“Sam and Gary have served the City with distinction for many years and I’m confident in their abilities to enhance economic development and streamline projects with greater efficiency,” added Tindall. “Under this new structure, processes and workflow that serves the development community will be modified through necessary ordinance changes by the City Council.”
A July 19 City Council workshop session will be held to discuss the proposed reorganization of the City’s administrative structure in greater detail.
Prior to his nineteen years with the City, Huddleston worked for eleven years in private consulting as an environmental engineer. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and past president of the Nashville Branch of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Huddleston holds a B.S. and M.S. in Civil Engineering from Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville.
Whitaker attended Middle Tennessee State University and graduated from Riverdale High School. He was certified as a Commercial and Residential Building Official including Plan Review, Fire Inspector and Code Analyst. He also holds an electrical and plumbing license with the State of Tennessee. Whitaker previously held a state commercial and residential general contractor’s license for 15 years.
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