Thu., April 4, 2013 4:50pm (EDT)

Savannah Official Takes Permanent Job
By Orlando Montoya
Updated: 1 year ago

SAVANNAH, Ga.  —  
Stephanie Cutter, second from left, is congratulated on her selection as Savannah City Manager.  (photo City of Savannah)
Stephanie Cutter, second from left, is congratulated on her selection as Savannah City Manager. (photo City of Savannah)
Savannah's elected officials have chosen a new chief executive for the city's municipal government.

The City Council on Thursday made permanent a temporary selection they made last year.

When the Council named Stephanie Cutter interim city manager in October, Cutter said she wouldn't seek the post permanently.

But since then, business leaders and elected officials nudged her to reconsider the decision.

Trip Tollison of the Savannah Economic Development Authority says, Cutter has shown herself to be a friend of small business.

"Stephanie has been a wonderful joy to work with not only as interim City Manager but especially over the last ten years that I have worked with her on various issues that are important to the business community," Tolleson says. "I think that she demonstrated that ten years ago when we started working on lowering [sanitation] rates for commercial customers that were paying way too much for a city our size. She was approachable and we worked out a wonderful plan that she was the architect of."

Since becoming interim chief Cutter guided city government through a series of minor crises.

Her selection eliminates the possibility of a national search for what is the one of the most powerful positions in the city.

The last time Savannah conducted a national search for a city manager two years ago, residents and elected officials divided along racial lines.

"Ms. Cutter is a visionary," says Savannah Mayor Edna Jackson. "She has brought togetherness back among the staff, the leadership and the City of Savannah."

As City Manager, Ms. Cutter serves as the chief executive officer of a city government with almost 2,500 employees and a nearly $300 million annual operating budget.

"I am honored and humbled by this selection," Cutter says. "We can do great things working together."

Cutter is a Savannah native and Windsor Forest High School graduate whose professional career began in 1976 with the Georgia Department of Corrections.

She joined the City of Savannah in 1989 as a budget analyst.