The Auburn City Council tapped Megan McGowen Crouch to lead the city into the future at its meeting on Tuesday evening, approving her promotion to city manager.
Crouch, who currently serves as assistant city manager and chief operating officer, will take over the city manager position from Jim Buston, effective Feb. 1. Buston recently announced his retirement, effective at the end of January.
"It's my belief that that person needs to be someone who is a hard worker, who has experience in the arena of municipal government and has played multiple roles in that arena, who can communicate with all peoples in the community, whether they're university leadership, city leadership, parents, employees or us, the elected officials," said Auburn Mayor Ron Anders during a work session last Wednesday. "The choice is obvious; the choice is right here before us; it is my belief that that choice is Megan McGowen Crouch."
Local civic and business leaders endorsed Crouch during the Citizens' Communications portion of Tuesday's meeting, including AuburnBank president Bob Dumas, Auburn Industrial Development Board member Laura Cooper and Auburn University Chief Financial Officer Kelli Shomaker, among others.
"I recommend her without reservations," said Dumas, who cited her institutional knowledge as one reason he thinks she will succeed as Auburn's city manager.
Buston said Crouch was the only internal candidate who was qualified for the position, which was not advertised as open.
Crouch has worked with the city in a number of roles over the years, first as an intern as she pursued a master's degree from Auburn University, and later in various roles in the Planning and Economic Development departments. She served as the city's executive director of development services before moving into her current position.
"No one will work harder for Auburn than Megan McGowen Crouch," said Buston in a news release. “Her work ethic combined with her education, certifications and years of experience in planning, economic development and city operations make her uniquely qualified for this position. I couldn’t be more comfortable than to leave the city’s administration in her hands because I know that she is passionate about doing what’s best for Auburn."
Multiple City Council members took the opportunity during the past two weeks to meet with Crouch.
"It was a great opportunity; I think it was a great idea," said Councilman Brett Smith. "We had a fantastic conversation. ... We talked on all kinds of different subjects and her thoughts and what she thought about today and what she thought about tomorrow."