Lindsey Thompson, 28, started her role as Public Information Officer on Sept. 3, filling the position vacated by Matthew Daily on Feb. 22.
City Manager Bill Bruton said 187 people applied for the position, and three applicants were interviewed before he made the final decision. Thompson will be paid $64,000 a year and reports to the city manager.
Thompson will be at this weekend’s 22nd annual Marietta StreetFest working at the city’s booth, which she said might be her first opportunity to handle public relations for a mild disaster — the possible rainout of the city’s fireworks display.
Saturday’s forecast includes an 80 percent chance of thunderstorms, which will present a challenge for the already postponed Fourth of July fireworks display.
“It could be quite the initiation,” Thompson said.
The public information officer should have the “ability to remain calm in a crisis or high-pressure situation,” the job posting stated.
Spokeswoman puts out fires
Thompson will now be the central source of information for Marietta, representing the city manager, City Council and department heads to other government agencies, businesses, media outlets and residents.
As part of an effort to understand the role of each department, Thompson showed up on the scene of a controlled-burn training exercise being carried out by the Marietta Fire Department on Tuesday.
Thompson said she dressed head to toe in the firefighter gear, including the respirator mask.
Her next stop will be to the Marietta Board of Lights and Water meeting next month to tour the utility’s facilities.
“It is a good way to get a feel for what every employee does for the city,” Thompson said. “I feel like I am back in college again and frantically taking notes.”
Thompson is used to grasping in-depth government policy and procedures after interning with former Gov. Sonny Perdue and working as a researcher and speechwriter for former Georgia House of Representatives Speaker Glenn Richardson.
Richardson saw his career as one of Georgia’s most powerful men come to an end after a suicide attempt in the fall of 2009, as well as his former wife accusing him of an affair with a lobbyist.
Bruton said the city was lucky to have such a talented person as Thompson.
“She is highly regarded by those who worked with her at the state Legislature and her combination of experience, education and positive
attitude will serve Marietta well,” Bruton said.
A Georgia peach and Yellow Jacket
A graduate of Georgia Tech, with a Bachelor of Science in international affairs, Thompson is a big Yellow Jackets fan and watches each football game either from Bobby Dodd Stadium or on television.
Raised in Gainesville, Thompson said she has stuck close to home in the metro Atlanta area, except for her time interning for then-Congressman Nathan Deal in Washington, D.C.
“The fact that it was still cold in June,” Thompson said, was enough for her to realize she could not stay away from Georgia for an extended period of time.
A year ago, Thompson moved with her fiance, Mark Wiles, to Smyrna and said she is excited to be working in Marietta.
“I just think the Square is so cute,” Thompson said. “It is a great place to come hangout on the weekend.”
THE LINDSEY THOMPSON FILE
* NAME: Lindsey Thompson
* AGE: 28
* SALARY: $64,000
* HOMETOWN: Raised in Gainesville
* EDUCATION: B.S. in International Affairs from Georgia Tech