Carmichael Leaves Community Development Position | Local News



The City of Meridian is seeking a new Director of Community Development following Laura Carmichael’s announcement of her departure.

Carmichael said she would start a new position in the private sector in the coming weeks.

“It has been an honor to work for the Town of Meridian for the past six years and to serve as the Director of Community Development for three and a half years,” she said Monday. “I am very happy to have been part of the accomplishments that have been made in our city, including the growth and development of our beautiful downtown.

Prior to taking on the role of director of community development, Carmichael worked as the city’s cultural affairs coordinator. She previously worked at Rush Health Systems for 14 years.

“My passion is to build a better community,” she said, “and I’m excited to start a new chapter in my career focused on engaging in community impact and philanthropy.”

Thinking back to her time as Director of Community Development, she said she was proud of her commitment to the Meridian community.

“The thing I’m most proud of is just being able to get involved 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 the Mississippi Children’s Museum-Meridian, Carmichael said.

Mayor Jimmie Smith, who had appointed Carmichael to remain director of community development, said he was planning his next steps. He will first have to choose someone to lead the department on an interim basis, and then appoint a new director, who will have to be approved by the board.

Smith, who officially became mayor on July 1, has also appointed people to lead other departments in the city, and the council must approve those candidates.

Council members postponed voting on candidates to Tuesday, July 13, last week.

Smith’s candidate for chief of police is Chris Read, who has held the post since last October, and mayor’s candidate for director of public safety is Doug Stephens, who has held the post since 2018.

Brandye Latimer is the candidate for the position of Chief Financial Officer and City Clerk, a position she has held since 2018.

The candidate for fire chief is Tim Miller, who served as fire chief from 2003 to 2005. Miller also served as director of the city’s Department of Homeland Security and administrative director. If Miller is approved by the board, he will succeed Ricky Leister.

David M. Hodge is Smith’s choice for the director of public works. If approved by the board, he will succeed Hugh Smith.

Smith also appointed Ed Skipper, the city’s former chief financial officer, as administrative director. If his appointment is approved, Skipper will succeed Eddie Kelly, who was CAO from March 2020 to May 2021, and Doug Stephens, who has been acting CAO since Kelly stepped down.

Smith also appointed Dustin Markham as a municipal court judge. Markham is a former city council member who lost a run for mayor in 2017.

The board will meet at 9 a.m. on Tuesday, July 13 in the third-floor auditorium to consider the nominations.


Norma P. Rex

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