Steven Bourne is top choice for planning director position

Steven Bourne, a resident of Hopkinsville, Ky., has emerged as the top-ranked candidate to fill the vacant Walton County Planning and Development Services position.
The planning director position had been vacated at the end of January with the resignation of Wayne Dyess, who had served in that capacity since spring 2011.
Rankings of four finalist candidates for the position was undertaken by the Walton County Board of County Commissioners (BCC) during the course of the March 14 regular BCC meeting at the South Walton Annex. All four had recently been interviewed individually by the commissioners after five finalists were selected by the BCC on Feb. 14. One of those five, Christopher Gratz of Bradenton, had opted not to be interviewed, dropping out from consideration.
Interviewed were Mac Carpenter and Kristen Shell, who currently serve on the Walton County Planning Department staff, Bourne, and Heather Whitmore of Tallahassee, a past county planning department employee.
Carpenter is currently employed as planning manager for Walton County, Shell as county environmental planner.
Two successive ranking procedures at the March 14 meeting resulted in Bourne being ranked first for the vacancy and Shell second. Accordingly, the BCC voted unanimously to direct staff to begin negotiations with Bourne to bring him on board. Included in the motion was to proceed in the same fashion with Shell if negotiations with Bourne proved unsuccessful.
According to information provided in Bourne’s application: He currently serves (since 1984) as director of community and development services for Hopkinsville and Christian County, Ky.; his previous experience includes work as a senior planner, energy impact planner, and research analyst/draftsman;
his degrees and certifications include a bachelor’s degree in biology and a master’s of public administration degree from Murray State University (Ky.), a master’s of arts degree in public policy and economics from the University of Evansville (Ind.), and a doctor of jurisprudence degree from the Nashville School of Law.