January 8, 2014 9:43:50 AM
Carl Smith - [email protected]
Taylor Adams, Starkville's city clerk and finance director, became the city's second chief administrative officer Tuesday after aldermen unanimously approved the hire.
His salary was set at $80,850 per year. Adams will continue to serve in his previous roles until those are filled by the board. Aldermen unanimously approved a motion Tuesday to begin the process of filling that position as soon as possible.
Since July's ousting of former CAO Lynn Spruill, Adams has served as the city's de facto second in command. In addition to his previous role, the board previously tasked Adams with some of Spruill's former job functions, and he filled the role of interim sanitation director last month when Emma Gandy was suspended for 10 days. State statute would have also placed him over Starkville Municipal Court's clerical duties, but aldermen quickly filled that role after former Court Clerk Debra Wood resigned last year.
"I am flattered that the board chose me and am appreciative of its vote of confidence," Adams said after the meeting. "I am looking forward to the challenges that this new role has in store."
The board chose Adams over two other candidates -- Michael Anderson, a regional broadband coordinator with Mississippi's Extension Broadband Education and Adoption Team (e-BEAT), and Andrew Ellard, an employee of Hattiesburg's Community Development Division and Department of Federal and State Programs -- after a round of interviews before the 5:30 p.m. aldermen meeting.
Aldermen went to executive session before the hire to discuss Adams' job performance. They thanked the two other finalists and commended the city for drawing a distinct applicant pool. There were 22 applicants for the position.
Board members commended Adams for his work ethic and ability to implement the will of aldermen.
"He is someone I believe the community will embrace," Ward 2 Alderman Lisa Wynn said.
In November, aldermen retooled the CAO position's job functions and salary, increasing the latter to make the position's pay scale more attractive. Adjusted job functions include providing oversight for city departments, facilitating internal communication and managing grants and special funding not specific to individual departments. The position will also perform other duties as assigned by the mayor and board.
Adams joined the city as finance director and city clerk in 2012 after the board renamed the position and increased its pay scale. He filled the job left vacant when former City Clerk Markeeta Outlaw retired.
Carl Smith covers Starkville and Oktibbeha County for The Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter @StarkDispatch