The City of Meridian is seeking a new community development director after Laura Carmichael’s announcement that she is leaving the position.
Carmichael said she is starting a new position in the private sector in the next couple of weeks.
“It’s been an honor to work for the City of Meridian for the last six years and serve as community development director for the last three and a half,” she said Monday. “I’m very glad to have been a part of the accomplishments that have been achieved in our city, including the growth and development of our beautiful downtown.”
Before serving as community development director, Carmichael worked as the city’s cultural affairs coordinator. She previously worked at Rush Health Systems for 14 years.
“My passion is building a better community,” she said, “and I’m excited to begin a new chapter in my career focused on engaging in community impact and philanthropy.”
Looking back on her time as community development director, she said she is proud of her engagement with the Meridian community.
“The thing I’m most proud of is just being able to engage in our community and work with others as a team to see positive things happen,” she said.
Some of those positive changes include neighborhood revitalization programs and the opening of the Mississippi Arts + Entertainment Experience and Mississippi Children’s Museum-Meridian, Carmichael said.
Mayor Jimmie Smith, who had nominated Carmichael to remain community development director, said he is planning his next steps. He will first have to choose someone to lead the department in an interim capacity, then nominate a new director, who must be approved by the council.
Smith, who officially became mayor on July 1, has also nominated individuals to lead other city departments, and the council has to approve these nominees.
Council members last week postponed a vote on the nominees until Tuesday, July 13.
Smith’s nominee for police chief is Chris Read, who has served in the role since last October, and the mayor’s nominee for public safety director is Doug Stephens, who has held that role since 2018.
Brandye Latimer is the nominee for chief financial officer and city clerk, a position she has held since since 2018.
The nominee for fire chief is Tim Miller, who served as fire chief from 2003 to 2005. Miller has also served as the director of the city’s homeland security department and as the chief administrative officer. If Miller is approved by the council, he will succeed Ricky Leister.
David M. Hodge is Smith’s choice for public works director. If approved by the council, he will succeed Hugh Smith.
Smith has also nominated Ed Skipper, a former chief financial officer for the city, to be the chief administrative officer. If his appointment is approved, Skipper will succeed Eddie Kelly, who was CAO from March 2020 to May 2021, and Doug Stephens, who has served as acting CAO since Kelly stepped down.
Smith has also nominated Dustin Markham as municipal court judge. Markham is a former city council member who lost a mayoral bid in 2017.
The council will meet at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, July 13 in the third floor auditorium to consider the appointments.