Steve Childers. (Photo from the City of Ozark)

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The City of Springfield announced the hiring of a pair of city administrators from Ozark with back-to-back announcements Nov. 16-17.

Steve Childers, the city administrator of Ozark, will join Springfield as the new director of Planning and Development.

Samantha Payne, Ozark’s assistant city administrator and former parks director, joined the Springfield City Manager’s Office as a development project facilitator.

“I am extremely proud of the progress made in the City of Ozark during my time as city administrator,” Childers said in a news release. “However, after nearly 20 years of serving this wonderful community, it is time for the next phase of my career. I look forward to bringing my experience, insights, and educational background in planning to the City of Springfield.”

Childers has 25 years of experience in budgeting and finance, economic development and planning and zoning, among other aspects of local government. He has a master’s degree from Missouri State University in public planning, geography and management, and a bachelor’s in organizational communication.

Brendan Griesemer, assistant director of Planning and Development, has served as interim director since the resignation of the previous director, Susan Istenes, in May of this year.

The director of Planning and Development is a principal advisor to the city manager, oversees a staff of 25 employees and helps implement the city’s comprehensive plan, Forward SGF.

“Steve has the proven ability to effectively work and communicate with a diverse group of individuals including public officials, developers, design professionals, and community at large, as well as experience in establishing a ‘vision’ for an organization,” City Manager Jason Gage said in the release.

Samantha Payne. (Photo from the City of Springfield)

Prior to serving as the assistant city administrator, Payne was the parks and recreation director and public information officer for Ozark. In her new role in Springfield, she will oversee development projects by working with stakeholders to streamline the city’s development review process. 

The position of development project facilitator was previously held by Danny Perches, who was promoted to the assistant director of the Department of Economic Vitality in December

Payne has a master’s degree in business administration from William Woods University and a bachelor’s degree in the same subject from Evangel University. 

Though announced Nov. 14, Payne began in her new role for the City of Springfield Nov. 6. The hiring of Childers was announced Nov. 17, and he will begin on Jan. 2, 2024.

Jack McGee

Jack McGee is the government affairs reporter at the Springfield Daily Citizen. He previously covered politics and business for the Daily Citizen. He’s an MSU graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in journalism and a minor political science. Reach him at or (417) 837-3663. More by Jack McGee