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Snowden resigns as Starkville's community developer


Carl Smith



Starkville Community Developer William Snowden tendered his resignation this morning, becoming the fourth significant departure from the city since the current board of aldermen took over in July. 


City officials confirmed the resignation shortly before a Community Development Department staff meeting. 


Snowden has been absent from City Hall since October when aldermen granted him six weeks of leave for health-related issues. In his absence, community development employees reported to Mayor Parker Wiseman. 


A call to Wiseman went unreturned at press time. 


Before his leave began, aldermen tasked Snowden with reviewing the city's sidewalk and landscaping ordinances. The report was originally scheduled for Tuesday's meeting, but Snowden's absence pushed the presentation to February. 


It is not known how Snowden's resignation will affect the review. Ward 4 Jason Walker, who previously attempted to form a non-partisan review committee, said he will re-submit a similar proposal in the wake of Snowden's exit. 


The previous board of aldermen hired the former Tuscaloosa, Ala. economic developer as the city's first community developer in February. His salary was set at $75,000. 


Since the current board of aldermen took over July 1, Starkville has experienced significant turnover in key positions. The incoming board ousted former chief administrative officer Lynn Spruill from her position before the first month of the new term ended. Then, former Starkville Municipal Clerk Debra Wood was forced to resign from her post or face termination after a lengthy closed-door, special-call aldermen meeting on a personnel matter. 


Aldermen did not offer any reasoning behind the two personnel moves. 


Last month, the board unanimously accepted Starkville Police Chief David Lindley's letter of resignation after about an hour behind closed doors. Lindley will officially retire on Dec. 31. 


It is believed authorized an internal investigation into a police matter during a prior special-call meeting, but city officials refused to comment on the matter. Lindley previously told The Dispatch a situation arose after his wife, Mississippi State University Police Chief Georgia Lindley, accidentally struck a car in a church parking lot before a home football game. Georgia Lindley was not aware that she dinged the car, David Lindley said, and both cooperated in SPD's investigation. 


The Dispatch submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for any documents associated with the incident and subsequent investigation, but city officials have yet to respond to the request. 


David Lindley was placed on administrative leave earlier in November. He will be absent from his leadership position as he uses accumulated leave through the end of December and remains barred from communicating with police officers and entering police premises. Former assistant chief John Outlaw came out of retirement to serve as the interim police chief until a permanent replacement for Lindley can be found.


Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch



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