The City of Valdosta Mayor and Council appointed Assistant City Manager Mark Barber as the Interim City Manager at the Nov. 9 City Council meeting. Effective Dec. 8, 2017, Barber will fill the vacancy left by City Manager Larry Hanson, who has been named the Executive Director of the Georgia Municipal Association, in Atlanta. As the Interim City Manager for the city of Valdosta, Barber will oversee the city’s 10 departments, 600 employees, and a $97 million budget.
Barber is not new to the city of Valdosta, having served the organization for 26 years, beginning in 1989 when he was hired as the city’s Principal Accountant. With the exception of a four-year employment with the city of Thomasville, Georgia from 1996-2000, Barber has been a vital asset to the Valdosta organization, serving as the city’s Finance Director from 2000 to 2007, the Deputy City Manager for Administration from 2007 to 2015, and the Assistant City Manager from 2015-2017.
“Continuity within an organization is vital, especially in the departure of top leadership, and planning for smooth transitions in all city departments has been something that the council has been talking about for years,” said Mayor John Gayle. “In his role of Assistant City Manager, Mark Barber has already been responsible for most of the city’s 10 departments who report directly to him. He is no doubt the most qualified for the position; and for the most part, the transition into the Interim City Manager position will be seamless.”
Barber’s 30 years of experience in municipal government—26 of them with the city of Valdosta—include city-wide administrative support, department operations, financial services, risk management and human resource management.
While Valdosta is Georgia’s 14th largest of 537 municipalities, Barber has worked with city leaders to keep Valdosta’s millage and utility rates among the lowest of peer cities in the state. His years of finance experience has provided the guidance to ensure the city continues to operate in a fiscally responsible manner.
Under his leadership, the city of Valdosta has received the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report and the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award each year. These awards, presented by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada, are the highest forms of recognition in government budgeting.
Barber’s commitment to enhancing the pro-business environment in Valdosta through his role on the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce Special Ombudsman Response Team (SORT) has helped to identify obstacles in the business development process and facilitate mutually beneficial resolutions for business and local government. As a result, the city of Valdosta has devoted resources to continuously improve and strengthen business development in the “City Without Limits.”
Barber is a member of the Government Finance Officers Association and the Georgia Government Finance Officers Association, where he has chaired numerous committees and is a Past President. He is a member of the Georgia City-County Manager’s Association and is involved with the Georgia Municipal Association, and he is frequently requested by both organizations to teach government leaders around the state on various municipal issues and concerns.
Effective Dec. 8, Barber can be reached at the Valdosta City Hall at 229-259-3500.