Kim accepts community development director

Simon Kim accepted the position as the new community development director for Starkville. 

Following the Starkville Board of Aldermen’s 5-2 vote in favor of hiring a community development director, Sungman 'Simon' Kim accepted the offer for the position. 

 During the Tuesday, March 5 meeting Kim said it would take approximately a week to make a decision. 


Kim sent an email of acceptance for the position Thursday. 


As part of his visit Tuesday, Kim was interviewed by the city’s aldermen before they voted, and he also met with the community development staff. 


Kim said he was impressed with the community development staff, as Starkville Mayor Lynn Spruill said he should've been. 


As previously reported by Starkville Daily News, during his interview Kim spoke to the need to run the city's community development department transparently, and streamline some of the processes in the department. 


Spruill believes Kim is an eminently qualified community development director. 


"He brings a double masters, and a PhD as well as a number of other credentials and 30 years of experience," Spruill said. "I think we are incredibly fortunate to have him decide to become a part of our community and I very much believe that he's going to fit right in."


Kim was initially interviewed via Skype in a special call meeting Tuesday, Jan. 29. 


Richard Ashley Grana, previous planning division manager for the city of Destin's Community Development department, was also interviewed that morning.  


The purpose of the director of community development is to oversee the city of Starkville's Development Services Division. 


Kim's duties would entail reviewing building plans, issuing building permits, inspecting, and issuing certificates of occupancy for construction and privilege licenses. 


He would also work closely with the Code Enforcement Division, Planning Division and Development Review Committee. 


His $88,500 salary makes Kim the third highest paid of Starkville's department heads behind Utilities Director Terry Kemp and City Engineer Edward Kemp. 


Prior to accepting the city's community development director position, Kim worked with a population of 183,000 in Brownsville, Texas. 


He has experience in providing consultant services on urban planning, landscape architecture, economic development, GIS, and software programming projects. 


According to his resume, 12 of his 30 years of experience were spent working in foreign countries, and 18 years in the public sector of the United States. 


He also served as a community development director in Texas and Florida. 


The mayor said high expectations are set for Kim and she thinks he will deliver with this opportunity to elevate the community of Starkville even higher. 


Starkville was of particular interest for Kim because he saw its potential to become a metropolitan core with its close proximity to Birmingham and Jackson. 


"I look for the community that will build and develop in the future," Kim said back in January. 


Kim will replace Buddy Sanders, who voluntarily resigned August 2018. Sanders held the position since March 2014. 


His anticipated start date is approximately April 8.  


"I'm looking forward to his participation on our team," Spruill said. 

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