Murfreesboro Enhances Planning Department with Key Hires

Murfreesboro appoints Ben Newman and Richard Donovan in planning roles.

The City of Murfreesboro is proud to announce significant additions to its Planning Department, aiming to bolster the city’s land management and planning capabilities. Ben Newman has been appointed as the Director of Land Management and Planning, bringing with him a wealth of experience in administration, government, and legal practice related to public utilities, land matters, and economic development.

Newman, who officially joined the team on February 26, 2024, has an impressive background that includes serving as the General Manager of the Caney Fork Electric Cooperative in McMinnville, Tennessee, where he managed a team of 80 and oversaw operations for 35,000 customers. His leadership roles have extended to public service as the mayor, vice mayor, and alderman for the City of McMinnville from 2012 to 2020, where he concurrently worked as an attorney with a focus on public utility, land issues, and workers’ compensation.

Greg McKnight, Development Services Executive Director, expressed his enthusiasm for Newman’s appointment, highlighting his extensive experience in city planning and land use expertise as invaluable assets for guiding Murfreesboro’s future growth and development.

Joining Newman in strengthening the Planning Department is Richard T. Donovan Jr., who assumes the role of Principal Planner. Donovan brings a robust portfolio of planning experience from his tenure as Senior Planner for Slaughter & Associates, PLLC in Oxford, Mississippi, and previous positions as Planning Director for the City of Lakeland, Tennessee, among other roles. His expertise in comprehensive planning, municipal annexation, and planning studies is expected to significantly contribute to the department’s objectives.

The city has also promoted Bard Barbee to Principal Planner, recognizing his contributions since joining the Planning Department in November 2020. Barbee’s experience with the City of Murfreesboro spans since 2005, during which he has gained extensive knowledge in subdivision regulations, zoning ordinances, and design guidelines.

These strategic hires and promotions follow the appointment of Greg McKnight as Executive Director of Development Services in 2023 and Sam Huddleston as Assistant City Manager for Engineering and Economic Development, marking a new era of leadership and vision for Murfreesboro’s Development Services Division. The city remains committed to fostering sustainable growth and development, with these appointments reinforcing its dedication to excellence in planning and land management.

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