Grand Rapids has tapped the mayor’s assistant to lead the city’s communications.
City Manager Greg Sundstrom said Amy Snow-Buckner, who is currently Mayor Rosalynn Bliss’s assistant, will serve in a newly created role as acting managing director of communications.
Sundstrom said it is not uncommon among peer cities to have a communications office staffed by a director and four to seven city employees. He said Snow-Buckner’s promotion is the first step in that process.
Snow-Buckner’s “acting” status will likely be up to the next city manager to change, Sundstrom said.
Sundstrom will retire when his contract ends Feb. 3, and the city is in the process of hiring a replacement.
“Often, with participants for senior management positions, if there’s someone in the organization that 1) could fill in while we’re trying to fill the position, or 2) they might be a person we would consider, we put them on acting assignment and let them do their best to keep us afloat and maybe even demonstrate their skills to stay in permanently,” he said, referring to Snow-Buckner.
Sundstrom said Snow-Buckner’s promotion is part of the city’s Grow Our Own initiative aimed at building leaders within its ranks.
Snow-Buckner said the role was created “in response to the City Commission and community deeming improved city communications a top priority.”
Snow-Buckner will lead the development and implementation of the city’s strategic communications plan.
She also will oversee communications across city departments and potentially oversee the staff members Sundstrom referred to after her permanent status has been decided.
Steve Guitar will continue to focus on media relations in the communications office.
Snow-Buckner has served as assistant to the mayor since November 2015, managing communications for Bliss and assisting with communication efforts across the city.
Between 1997 and 2010, she was an online producer, copy editor and manager of The Grand Rapids Press sports copy desk.
From 2011 to 2012, she was public relations officer and grants manager for Mel Trotter Ministries. In 2012, she joined Habitat for Humanity of Kent County as women build manager and donor relations coordinator, where she worked until December 2014.
From January to November 2015, she served as a senior associate at Sabo Public Relations.
Snow-Buckner earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Michigan State University in 1997.