The city is one step closer to filling open leadership positions.
Jane Hudson is Norman’s new planning and community development director.
Kathryn Walker will be the new city attorney if the city council on Tuesday approves City Manager Darrel Pyle’s recommendation.
City leaders hope to name a new police chief by the end of the month.
The city made its announcement about Hudson on Friday. There was one other applicant the city would not name for confidentiality reasons, but Pyle said Hudson was noticeably the most qualified candidate in the pool.
Hudson brings 17 years of experience in the city’s planning department to her new position. She was principal planner the past seven years
“This is a huge responsibility and I don’t take it lightly, I have the community, developers and staff depending on me to take care of everyday business in a professional manner,” Hudson said.
She served as the interim planning and community development director over the past year, which she said was really a blessing.
“This past year has given me the opportunity to learn a great deal about management, municipal planning in general, budgeting and the overall responsibilities of working as a director,” Hudson said.
Even though Hudson held the interim role for a year, Pyle said the overall body of work on her resume is what really stood out.
“I don’t know if the interim role added much weight to what she already brought to the table,” Pyle said. “Her experience and her vision for what she had observed and participated in during her tenure with the City of Norman and the planning department made up the bulk of the value she brought to the table.”
From a background perspective, Pyle said, Hudson has all of the education that anyone seeking that position would need and she has plenty of relevant experience in he world of municipal planning. However, he said, the single biggest factor is Hudson’s focus on customer service, which he added is the entire purpose of their existence in the planning department and local government.
“[Hudson] will be the one to lead the implementation of changes in our planning department resulting in a more efficient delivery of service to our development community,” Pyle said. “She just happens to come in at a great time to have a brand new set of marching orders in front of her. I think she will be able to implement the plan and carry those new missions out very efficiently.”
Through this position Hudson said she hopes to open the lines of communication and wants the residents to know that the department is here to help and serve the community. The opportunity to serve as the director gives her the chance to be a point of contract for the Norman community as a whole, she said.
“I have an open door policy and welcome questions and comments about how we can better serve the community,” Hudson said.
The Planning and Community Development Department is a hub of the municipal system, she said. The department has six divisions so daily activities are varied, she said, but there is always an opportunity to make a difference for someone in the community.
“The planning department works with other departments in many areas of planning and development for the community,” Hudson said. “I look forward to continued cohesive interactions with other departments to provide the best service possible to the community.”
Internal panels consisting of city department heads conducted the first round of interviews for Hudson’s position, and Pyle reviewed the panel’s comments and concluded second interviews this week. In addition, Pyle said he sought the input of people in the development community for what would make up an ideal director of planning and community development.
“Overwhelmingly the desire to have problem solvers sit in that desk was mission critical, and I think we found that in Jane Hudson,” Pyle said.