TUPELO — Mayor Jason Shelton is nominating a prominent Tupelo businessman to be the city’s next development services director.
The nominee, Shane Hooper, 44, is a member of the state College Board and current chairman of the Tupelo-based Community Development Foundation. He is president of the educational support services company, Success Learning Inc., which he created in 2005.
BJ Teal resigned as the city’s development services director in October after saying she and the mayor had different ideas about the job. The first-term mayor says he wants a leader with an economic development background who can complement the Community Development Foundation’s efforts to lure business and industry to Tupelo and Lee County.
“CDF is out hunting whales and we need someone out reeling in smaller fish,” Shelton said Wednesday. “If it’s a good business we want it here.”
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reports Hooper has no experience in city planning, but he has a long resume that includes leadership of local nonprofit and business organizations.
Tupelo’s Department of Planning and Community Development carries out policies and programs related to city zoning, planning and code enforcement. Before Shelton’s administration, the director was required to have a master’s degree in city, urban or regional planning and six years of experience preparing long-range local government plans. Hooper earned a bachelor’s degree in management and political science from Lipscomb University.
City Council members have received Hooper’s resume, and some have had conversations with him.
They will vote on the nomination Tuesday, and Shelton said he believes a council-majority will confirm Hooper. Shelton said Hooper’s salary would be $73,000. Teal’s was $74,675.
If hired by the city, Hooper must resign as Community Development Foundation chairman because the economic development organization bans public officials from serving as officers.