Auburn City Council halts city manager search, appoints James Buston as city manager

ARTICLE | Aug 31, 2017

AUBURN, Ala.- The Auburn City Council unanimously appointed James C. Buston III as the City of Auburn’s new city manager at its Committee of the Whole meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 15.

The appointment came after the Council decided to halt its search for a new city manager, which began in April 2017 following former city manager Charles Duggan’s retirement in February. Buston has served as interim city manager since Duggan’s retirement.

The council decided to halt the search after reviewing candidates submitted by a search firm, adding that the candidates were high quality but not the right fit for Auburn at this time. They commended Buston for his dedicated service to the City of Auburn and its residents over the years and expressed confidence in his ability to shepherd City staff moving forward.

“I’ve had the good fortune to see him in action in some tough times and make sound decisions,” Mayor Bill Ham said.

“When I read that he was acting city manager, I was just thrilled about that because of how responsive he was back when I was on the council initially and now, even more so,” Councilperson Verlinda White said. “I have experienced the quickness, the detailed responses and the willingness to talk and bring me up to speed. All of those things speak volumes.”


James C. Buston III served as assistant city manager and chief information officer for 11 of his 21 years with the City of Auburn. He created the City’s Information Technology Department in 1996, serving as its first and only director until becoming interim city manager. Buston’s focus as ACM/CIO was to use his knowledge of current technology and best practices, combined with an intimate working knowledge of how the city does business, to guide all City departments in using technology to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of City operations. He has also been responsible for the City’s business continuity planning efforts, designed to prepare the organization to continue to provide essential city services even after a catastrophic weather, pandemic or other event.

Buston led the charge to respond to citizen input by making positive changes for downtown parking as Auburn’s interim city manager. The result has been a myriad of city initiatives from the approval of “low speed vehicle” taxi services to changes in the City’s parking ordinance and a potential new municipal parking deck on the site of the current Baptist Student Center building. 

Buston received his Bachelor of Science degree from Oregon State University. He holds a Master of Science degree from Auburn University and received the Certified Government CIO designation from the School of Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Buston has completed the Leading, Educating and Developing Program (LEAD) through the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at the University of Virginia and has received a certificate of completion for the Senior Executives in State and Local Government program at Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.

A former Peace Corps volunteer, Buston has also served as the United States Technical Advisor for Latin American Affairs in Honduras. Before joining the City of Auburn in 1996, Jim served 13 years in the private sector where he worked as vice president in charge of software development for the New York-based Intermark Corporation and as Technology Group Chairman for the Tennessee based R.U.R. Group.


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