FAIRMONT — Mark Miller has been hired as the new director of planning and development for the City of Fairmont, according to a news release from the City.

City Manager Valerie Means said she hired Miller at a salary of $66,710. Miller will begin working for the City on Monday, Sept. 9.

Mayor Brad Merrifield said he is pleased that Miller has come on board.

Merrifield said Miller worked previously for the city in planning and development, and is familiar to previous council members who served during his time. Merrifield, however, said he hasn’t met Miller yet.

“I’m anxious to meet him and get him in the seat because we’re ready to get moving at a faster pace and we need that person,” he said.

According to the news release, Miller is returning to Fairmont after spending nearly four years with the City of Weirton where he served as director of planning and development.

In Weirton, Miller served as the point of contact for all issues related to zoning, grant applications and administration, development and capital improvement construction projects. He also served as floodplain coordinator and oversaw several projects, including that city’s recent Comprehensive Plan update.

Means said Miller “stood out in the pool of applicants based on his intricate knowledge of the City’s planning and zoning process. The City needs an individual with that skill set as well as the ability to introduce new ideas; he brings great value to our planning and economic development efforts.”

Merrifield said Means had a good pool of applicants. He said he put “a lot of faith in her decision because she’s been on the money so far.” Means, who herself started as the new city manager earlier this year, said five candidates were interviewed for the director’s job. Means also had previously worked in Weirton, having served as city manager from August 2011 to May 2015.

Merrifield said he saw a positive response from other people when Miller’s name was mentioned.

He said council is waiting for Miller to be seated before holding its upcoming strategic meetings in which goals for the city will be reviewed.

He said Means wanted Miller present for the meetings because he will be an “integral” part of matters involving future planning.

According to the news release, Miller “has been successful working with both private and public developers due to his common sense approach and belief in providing excellent customer service.”

It states that “prior to employment with the City of Weirton, Mark completed his Board of Regents degree at Fairmont State University and spent six years in the Planning and Development Department with the City of Fairmont.” He became city planner before leaving in 2016 for the director of planning and development position in Weirton, according to his bio.

“We welcome Mr. Miller back to the City of Fairmont and look forward to his leadership in moving the City forward in the areas of Planning and Economic Development,” Means stated in the news release. “We are proud to have him on board as part of the Senior Leadership Team for our Friendly City!”

Miller couldn’t be reached for comment Tuesday afternoon, but his biographical information notes some of his other interests.

Beyond his career, it states that he “enjoys being active and, in his spare time, can usually be found in the gym or outdoors on the rail trail or in the woods.”

“Mark has come to realize the importance of family and understands that coming ‘home’ to Fairmont would provide the very best of both worlds – the ability to continue a career in planning and the ability to do so with his children in close proximity,” it states.

Miller will have many responsibilities in Fairmont.

According to the news release, some of the director of planning and development’s duties include “planning, organizing, and reviewing various aspects of planning” and “continuously reviewing the comprehensive plan and other study area plans that are needed to further both community and economic development initiatives in the City.”

The news release states that updates to those plans will also be the director’s responsibility, in addition to “coordinating goals with responsible urgencies, acting as the staff support to the planning commission and the board of zoning appeals and attending all meetings, (and) assisting in the formulation of policies and administrative procedures relating to subdivision regulations, zoning and comprehensive plans.”

Miller replaces former director of planning and development Sandra Scaffidi, who left the position earlier this year for personal reasons.

Eric Hrin can be reached at 304-367-2549, or ehrin@timeswv.com.

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