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Lewellen recognized by peers for success as manager

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Collierville Town Administrator James Lewellen was named the 2014 City Manager of the Year on Tuesday at the annual Tennessee City Manager’s Association conference in Chattanooga.
The award is sponsored by Tennessee City Manager’s Association as a peer recognition program to acknowledge Tennessee administrators who have made exceptional contributions to the profession or their municipality.
“This is an award based largely on ones credibility and reputation among his peers,” said Collierville Mayor Stan Joyner. “This is a true testament to James’s integrity and professionalism. It signifies that his peers across the state recognize and respect the collective body of work that James has accomplished.
“As his Mayor,” Joyner continued, “I find that perhaps no single enterprise demonstrates James’ mastery of his profession better than his recent involvement in the creation of Collierville’s Municipal Schools. It is difficult to overstate the complexity of this challenge.”
The nominations for the award are judged by the appointees of the TCMA Executive Board based on the following criteria: significant achievements made within the scope of their regular duties, special contributions made outside of routine responsibilities, length of service to the municipality and demonstration of outstanding initiative, perseverance or dedication to the profession or town.
“In municipal government, some people are born leaders, extraordinary visionaries with the innate ability to solve complex problems, tackle large scale projects and guide people toward a common goal,” said Mike Walker, executive director of TCMA. “In Collierville, that person is James Lewellen.”
Since his arrival in 1995, Lewellen has served under three mayors and witnessed Collierville’s population soar from 18,000 to 46,000.
Collierville’s general fund is currently $47.8 million, and the town’s workforce has grown from 226 to 463 full-time employees.
“While these circumstances are exciting for communities, managing all of this growth requires a strategic process,” Walker said. “Lewellen set about developing Collierville’s first ever Comprehensive Land Use Plan. This approach has been a road map that has helped the town transform from a developing rural community to a cosmopolitan suburb.
A native of Ripley, Miss., Lewellen graduated from Mississippi State University with a bachelor’s degree in Education and a Master’s in Public Policy and Public Administration.
He served as director of the Planning and Development Department for Southaven, Miss. for two years prior to accepting a position with Germantown as chief planner in the Department of Development in 1989. He was promoted to Assistant City Administrator in 1993.
In April, Lewellen was honored by the Rotary Club of Memphis East as the recipient of the 2014 Dunavant Public Servant Award which is presented annually to a non-elected official for their commitment to public service.
Included in the nomination were supporting commentaries from State Treasurer David Lillard, Sen. Mark Norris, Patrick Lawton, city administrator for Germantown, and Mark Brown, chief administrative officer for Bartlett.
“James certainly deserves to be recognized by the Tennessee City Management Association as City Manager of the Year,” said Brown. “He is a dynamic and creative professional who has helped Collierville grow and provide quality cost effective services for the town’s citizens. As a colleague, he is always available to listen and provide a great perspective on issues we face in Shelby County. He is a great city manager, a humble public servant, and someone I admire and am glad to call a friend.”18230

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