Sanders steps up as city planner

Published 8:32 pm Wednesday, March 2, 2011

After nearly 20 years, Calvin Lott is retiring as city planner for Troy.

Melissa Sanders, Planning and Zoning Administrator for Troy, will be stepping up to take Lott’s place.

“I have very big shoes to fill because Calvin is a great man with much knowledge in this field,” Sanders said. “I will serve as the Secretary to the Board of Adjustments and the Planning Commission.”

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The new position is an addition to what Sanders already does as the Planning and Zoning Administrator.

She said her tasks as the Planning and Zoning Administrator include planning functions, such as zoning ordinance compliance and revisions, subdivision regulations, mapping, site plan review, flood plain administration, the Community Master Plan, and long and short-range planning.

Sanders also serves as the Community Development Director and acts as a liaison for the city with the Economic Development Corporation and other entities as it relates to economic development.

“I am excited about this new position,” Sanders said. “I will continue to work diligently to be an asset to the City of Troy and for the entire community. I look forward to being part of the planning and development effort that will continue to make Troy a great place to live, work and play.”

Mayor Jimmy Lunsford said Sanders has been and will continue to be a valuable asset to the Planning Commission.

“Melissa is a fabulous employee,” Lunsford said. “We initially hired her as an assistant to the City Clerk. And, when the position of Executive Assistant became available in my office, we promoted her into that job and had her perform some additional duties with the Planning Department.”

Lunsford spoke very highly of Sanders’ ingenuity and said Sanders had, within six months, become certified as a planning official.

Lunsford said that when Lott made the decision to retire it felt natural to promote Sanders to the vacant position.

“She was more than certified for the position,” Lunsford said. “She is very thorough, she is a detailed person and very energetic. I think she’s going to do a wonderful job in that position.”

Lunsford said he has enjoyed working with Lott and remembered the conversation the two had that led to Lott’s employment with the City of Troy.

“I knew about Calvin’s capabilities when he worked as a planning official in the City of Montgomery,” Lunsford said. “After being elected into office at Troy and looking at how we would reorganize the city, we decided to move forward and bring in the first actual Planning Official into the City of Troy. And, frankly, I went up to Montgomery to have lunch with Calvin, in order to get him to help me write a job description for the position of a planning official since that was what he did for Montgomery.”

Lunsford said that it was during that lunch that he learned Lott was able to move back home to Troy and work as the city’s planning official.

“I brought him to Troy. He had been the planning official in Montgomery and soon became our planning official here,” Lunsford said. “He served extremely well for almost 20 years.”

Sanders’ move into her new position left a vacancy, which Lunsford has already filled.

Jana Grice Elliot filled the position of executive assistant to the Mayor.

Sanders said Elliot is a wonderful addition to the city staff and brings to her position valuable marketing and public relations experience.

Lunsford said Vaughn Daniels, Troy City Public Works director, will take over some of the other duties Lott previously performed, such as street paving and city drainage.

Lunsford said that the City has had a couple of retirements, but that the vacancies for those positions will not be filled because responsibilities are being distributed among already-hired personnel.

“What we’re trying to do is perform the same amount of work with fewer people,” Lunsford said. “That’s part of the reason we’re not suffering.”