Chief of Planning and Economic Development

City of Savannah, GA

Are you an experienced planning and economic development professional with a strategic mindset? Do you have the expertise and experience to support innovative planning and economic development efforts for a growing city with metropolitan needs? The City of Savannah, Georgia, seeks a proactive and creative collaborator for a new and pivotal position, Chief of Planning and Economic Development (Chief).

As part of Savannah’s executive realignment, the first Chief of Planning and Economic Development is charged with expanding the city’s tax base, shaping development and tourism, creating economic opportunities, preserving protected historic landmarks, and ensuring sustainability. This Chief will join a city committed to enhancing and sustaining its residents' quality of life and well-being through these efforts while implementing smart growth initiatives and shaping development to meet the needs of the entire community. The Chief will also help to address critical community challenges such as affordable housing.

Reporting directly to the City’s chief executive officer, the City Manager, the Chief of Planning and Economic Development serves as an executive manager and successfully collaborates with various internal and external entities, including the Savannah Economic Development Authority, the Metropolitan Planning Commission and MPO, local chambers of commerce and other industry partners, state and federal agencies, and others to proactively address the city's planning and economic development needs.

About the Community:
As America's first planned city, Savannah boasts one of the nation’s largest National Historic Landmark districts, filled with historic architecture, squares and parks. Savannah has a government culture that aims to build upon its early success in providing superior planning, infrastructure, and services for its citizens and visitors.

Located approximately 250 miles southeast of Atlanta, GA; 140 miles north of Jacksonville, FL; and 110 miles southwest of Charleston, SC, the City of Savannah covers 108.7 square miles. With over 148,000 year-round residents, the population of Savannah also includes the students of four colleges and universities offering bachelor's, master's, and professional or doctoral degree programs: Georgia Southern University-Armstrong Campus, Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), Savannah State University, and South University.

Savannah is the center of a diverse economy consisting of tourism, regional medical services, military, manufacturing, and the nation’s third largest container port and one of the fastest growing seaports in the world, which drives economic development across the southeast US. Retail and service businesses are also important sectors. Tourism is a major economic driver, with six distinct historic districts, coastal beaches, and a globally recognized food and art scene. Savannah's economy is diverse and robust - home to the Port of Savannah, nearby Fort Stewart–Hunter Air Base, International Paper, Gulfstream Aerospace, Titlemax, and others. Just 25 minutes from downtown Savannah, Hyundai Motor Group recently broke ground on an electric car manufacturing center, which is the largest economic development project in the history of the State of Georgia. Between Hyundai and their suppliers, this project will produce more than 18,000 new jobs to the Savannah area.

About the Organization, Department and Position:
The City of Savannah operates under a Council/Manager form of government with a budget of $560M and over 2500 employees working across 26 departments. A citywide leadership initiative and a cohesive management plan that maximizes collaboration and interdepartmental resources support the city's budget priorities.

The Chief of Planning and Economic Development oversees 213.6O FTE staff, including 7 direct reports, and manages a budget of $47M (General Fund: $23,417,945 and Parking Services Fund: $23,636,325). This Chief manages the operational activities of the following assigned departments: Development Services, Planning & Urban Design, Economic Development, Parking Services, Transportation, Special Events, Film & Tourism, and Environmental Services & Sustainability. The Chief, along with the City Manager, is the liaison with the city’s economic development authority which is organized by the state (independent of the city) and impacts education, planning, and economic development across 16 counties within two states. In addition to forging a proactive path of collaborative agreement on goals, processes and decisions, the Chief will focus on improving working relationships with stakeholders and partners.

Bachelor's degree (master’s degree preferred) in Public Administration, Business Administration, Planning, Engineering, or Economic Development supplemented with ten (10) years of responsible management experience in a public agency is required, or an equivalent combination of education and experience.

Salary and Benefits:
The hiring range for the position is $165,000 – $199,000 depending on qualifications and experience. Savannah offers a comprehensive benefits package, including health insurance, retirement options, and relocation expenses, which can be found here.

To apply, please visit and click on the Chief of Planning and Economic Development – City of Savannah, GA title.
• All applications must be submitted online via the Developmental Associates application portal (link above) – NOT the city’s employment application portal or any other external website.
• Resumes and cover letters must be uploaded with the application.
• Applicants should apply by February 18, 2024, to be considered during the first round of reviews.
• The hiring team will invite successful semi-finalists to participate in virtual interviews and skill evaluations on March 28.- 29, 2024. Candidates are encouraged to reserve these dates for virtual meetings should they be invited to participate.
• Direct all inquiries to

The City of Savannah, GA, is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Developmental Associates, LLC manages the recruitment and selection process for this position. To learn more about our selection process, visit, select “Client Openings," and scroll down to “Important Information for Applicants.”

How to Apply

Job Details

Job Function
Economic Development Director

City of Savannah


PO BOX 1027
Savannah, GA 31402-1027
United States

Form of Government


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