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City makes exec-level hire

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The city of Springfield made a hire to fill an executive role left vacant last year by longtime employee Mary Lilly Smith.

City Manager Jason Gage named Susan Istenes as Springfield’s Planning & Development director, effective Feb. 15, according to a news release. She comes to Springfield from Clayton, where she's served as director of planning and development since 2010.

"Susan brings to our organization the perfect blend of technical knowledge and leadership experience," Gage said in the release.

Istenes succeeds Smith, who retired from the city in April 2020 after nearly four decades working with the municipality. The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce in December appointed Smith as interim vice president of economic development.

Istenes, who will have a $140,000 annual salary, is slated to oversee 25 employees, said Cora Scott, the city's director of public information and civic engagement.

The city's planning director serves as a principal adviser to the city manager and other community stakeholders and directs the preparation and maintenance of the city's master plan, Forward SGF, according to the release.

“I am excited to join the city team and genuinely like this part of the state and the city,” Istenes said in the release. "I appreciate the city’s commitment to historical preservation, its downtown area and proximity to rural areas and open spaces."

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