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City of Savannah Public Communications

Posted on: September 8, 2020

Savannah City Manager finalists selected

Savannah Mayor Van Johnson announced the city council narrowed a pool of 110 applicants for Savannah City Manager to three finalists.

“The city council and I have selected three highly-qualified candidates as the finalists to be Savannah’s next city manager,” said Mayor Van Johnson. “This is the most important decision we will make for the future of our city, and I am excited to welcome the finalists to Savannah in the coming weeks. We look forward to hiring someone Savannahians can be proud of for years to come.”

The finalists are:

Caluha BarnesCaluha Barnes, Deputy City Manager of Modesto, Calif. 

Caluha Barnes has served as deputy city manager of Modesto since January 2019. She is responsible for the city’s internal services, including budget, finance, human resources, information technology, innovation and performance management, which manages special projects like the city’s strategic planning initiative and homelessness. The City of Modesto serves a population of 215,000. She previously worked as the community engagement director for the City of Santa Rosa, Calif. for two years and as the director of the Department of Health Services and as an administrative analyst in Sonoma County for six years. She is a native Georgian who previously worked for the Georgia Secretary of State as the director of administration and as a manager with the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA). She earned a Master of Public Administration from the University of Oklahoma and her bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University.


Odie Donald IIOdie Donald, II, City Manager of South Fulton, Ga.

Odie Donald, II, has served as city manager of South Fulton since March 2018. The City of South Fulton, created in May 2017, ranks as Georgia’s fifth-largest municipality, serving a population of 100,000. The city has 600 employees, a $69 million operating budget and a $40 million capital budget. South Fulton’s 11 departments include police, fire, community development, municipal courts, human resources, finance, public works, economic development, parks and recreation and IT. Donald previously served as the director of the Department of Employment Services for the District of Columbia and as executive director of the DC Workforce Investment Council. He also worked for the Georgia Department of Economic Development as the Workforce Services director and served as executive director of Coastal Workforce Services in Savannah from July 2013 to March 2015. He received his Master of Business Administration and his bachelor’s degree from Georgia State University.


John PombierJohn Pombier, Assistant City Manager of Mesa, Ariz. 

John Pombier has served as assistant city manager of Mesa since January 2011. The city serves a population of 510,000. He is responsible for $300 million in operational budgets and more than 2,200 employees in police, fire, court, environmental management, innovation and technology, and human resources. An attorney by education, he is a former city prosecutor and served as deputy counsel to the Arizona Governor’s Office. He graduated from Arizona State University School of Law and received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan School of Business.


The candidates will be in Savannah on Sept. 18 and 19 to participate in interview sessions with community panels.

Council members virtually interviewed six applicants in closed session in early August before selecting the three finalists.

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