4 finalists announced for Macon-Bibb Planning & Zoning director

Macon-Bibb Planning & Zoning Commission will soon name a replacement for retiring executive director Jim Thomas


Clockwise from top left: Charles L. Finkley Jr., Corey A. Hull, Jeffrey Ruggieri, Sungman Kim

After months of gathering applications and interviewing candidates, the Macon-Bibb County Planning and Zoning Commission has announced four finalists for executive director.

Myers McRae executive search and consulting firm has recruited candidates to replace Jim Thomas, a 37-year veteran of the office who announced his retirement late last summer. Thomas was supposed to leave at the end of 2021, but has agreed to stay on until a new director takes over.

From a field of 10 candidates, including two women, the top applicants were invited for a site visit, said Planning & Zoning Commission Chairwoman Jeane Easom.

At the conclusion of in-person interviews, the firm released the names of the candidates still in the running for the position: Charles L. Finkley Jr., Corey A. Hull, Sungman Kim and Jeffrey C. Ruggieri. All but Finkley are certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners or AICP, according to the news release.

The commission released short biographies of each finalist:

  • Charles L. Finkley Jr., MPA, is president/CEO of the Tunica County Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Foundation in Mississippi. Finkley has more than a decade of work experience in planning and development in cities in Alabama, Tennessee and Mississippi. He received his Master of Public Administration degree from Columbia Southern University and earned his B.S. in Urban Planning/Remote Sensing & GIS from Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical Univeristy, according to his LinkedIn page.
  • Corey A. Hull, MA, AICP, is the Transportation and Environmental Director for the Southern Georgia Regional Commission in Valdosta. Hull has more than 19 years of experience in planning and economic development for governmental bodies in Georgia and Indiana. Hull received a Master of Arts degree in Community Development from North Park University and completed his Bachelor of Arts degree in Urban Planning and Development from Ball State University. He also lists a Certificate in Local Government Management from the Management Development Program at the University of Georgia on his LinkedIn page.
  • Sungman Kim, Ph.D., AICP, is the principal of the consulting firm of Landform and Planning in Oregon that provides consulting services on urban planning, landscape architecture, economic development, GIS, Human Resources management and software programming projects. Over his 33-year career, Kim has provided consultation and research work for government agencies, as well as managed planning and development projects with local governments. Kim received his Master of Business Administration degree from the University of North Florida, earned his Ph.D. in Landscape Architecture with a thesis on urban planning and design from the University of Sheffield, achieved his Master’s in Landscape Architecture from Seoul National University and was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in Landscape Architecture from Daegu University, according to his LinkedIn page.
  • Jeffrey C. Ruggieri, MCP, AICP, is Director of Development Services for the City of New Bern, North Carolina. Ruggieri has 22 years of experience, including more than 15 years in leadership and supervisory roles in Florida, Texas and North Carolina in leading planning, preservation and economic development organizations. Ruggieri earned his Master’s degree in City Planning from Georgia Institute of Technology and his Bachelor of Arts in Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island, according to his LinkedIn page.

Under Georgia law, the Macon-Bibb County Planning & Zoning Commission must wait 14 days from the announcement of finalists before offering the position to one of the candidates.

Easom has called a special executive session meeting Wednesday for commissioners to discuss the candidates whom they interviewed in recent weeks. Commissioners will vote for their selection in an open meeting to be scheduled in the near future.

-Civic Journalism Senior Fellow Liz Fabian covers Macon-Bibb County government entities and can be reached at [email protected] or 478-301-2976.