Meet Alabaster’s new city manager

By NEAL WAGNER / Managing Editor

ALABASTER – Coming from one of the Atlanta metro area’s fastest-growing cities, Brian Binzer admits Alabaster is in a situation different from most other municipalities in Alabama.

Binzer

Binzer

“Cities in Georgia are required to have a comprehensive plan, and Marietta took that very seriously,” Binzer said six days after starting his new position as Alabaster’s city manager. “What I found unique about Alabaster is that they took it upon themselves to update their comprehensive plan. That speaks to the leadership here.”

Binzer assumed Alabaster’s city manager role on Dec. 30, 2016, which was a little more than a month after the city’s council voted unanimously to hire him for the position. Binzer, who previously served as director of development services for Marietta, will earn a $120,000 yearly salary.

Before working in Marietta, Binzer worked as a planner in Albany, Georgia, and Ackworth, Georgia. He is a Montgomery native, and holds master’s degrees in community planning and public administration from Auburn University.

He was one of three finalists City Council members interviewed for the position in early November. The city manager position had been vacant since former city manager George Henry resigned in August.

On Jan. 3, Binzer said he had a meeting with the city’s department heads, police and fire chief, and said he spent the majority of his first week working to learn the departments’ day-to-day activities.

“I understand each department’s overall role in the city’s operation, but I want to get a better understanding of exactly what they do on a day-to-day basis, how they approach their jobs and how I can be of assistance to them,” Binzer said.

Binzer also said he plans to bring a proposal to the City Council to start a citizens government academy, which will aim to give Alabaster residents a better understanding of their municipal government.

“It gives folks an opportunity to get a better understanding of what their government does,” Binzer said. “A lot of people who go through a program like that end up becoming leaders in the community.”

Binzer said he “sees a lot of potential” in Alabaster, and said he would like to promote “good quality developments” in the city.

“You want to have ordinances on the books that are flexible enough that people can do business here while still protecting the best interests of the residents,” he said. “A lot of the things that were written in the past were applicable 20 or 30 years ago, but may not be today. I don’t want to rock the boat too much right off the bat, but I think it’s something we can gradually work on going forward.”