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City hires former councilman, bank VP as economic planner


News Staff Writer

Mayor Jim Staff formally announced Monday (April 11) the hiring of former bank executive and three-term city councilman Chris Walker to a newly created administrative role.
At the end of Monday’s council meeting, Staff introduced the former banking professional, who began his new job on April 3, to the public.
“I want to introduce our new economic advisor, Mr. Chris Walker,” the mayor said, noting that Walker will carry out several different functions. “I think he’s got about six hats he’s going to be wearing.”
Staff said prior to the April 11 meeting that Walker’s employment would “take some of the load off (City Clerk) Becca Smith” and would be a “valuable asset” to the city.
The former city councilman, who served 12 years (2008-2020) as District 3 representative, said his primary tasks would involve development of a plan to accommodate the city’s anticipated growth and the needs of its present and future population.
“My title is actually economic planner and grant writer,” Walker said. “Within the upcoming weeks I will be revealing the comprehensive strategy I’ll be using to basically enhance social services, take advantage of federal and state funding that’s out there that we can capture for new projects and for existing projects to enhance social services and basically to generate some awareness for things such as the (Saturday, April 16) autism walk and other things that we need in the community.”
Walker joins the city after more than three years as an assistant vice-president at United Bank, where he was also managing director of the bank’s Community Facilities Lending Program. In that position, he administered loans available from the United States Department of Agriculture and other sources.
“I’ll be here every day,” the new economic planner told council members. “Thanks again for the opportunity. I will do my best.”
Walker’s hiring did not require council approval, and he will serve at the mayor’s discretion. The only municipal positions for which council approval is needed is City Clerk and Judge of Municipal Court.