Sally Payne (Photo: City of Springfield)

To read this story, please sign in with your email address and password.

You’ve read all your free stories this month. Subscribe now and unlock unlimited access to our stories, exclusive subscriber content, additional newsletters, invitations to special events, and more.


One of Springfield’s leaders in helping unemployed workers find jobs abruptly left her own job on Oct. 19.

Sally Payne, the now former director of workforce development for the city of Springfield, resigned. Payne has worked for the city since 2008.

The Springfield Department of Workforce Development is a city government office housed within the Missouri Job Center on East Sunshine Street. Its main mission is to connect job seekers with good places to work, and to help bridge any gaps between job seekers and employment.

Springfield Director of Public Information Cora Scott confirmed the end of Payne’s employment with the city of Springfield just after 5 p.m. Oct. 19.

“I can confirm that she has resigned,” Scott wrote in an email to the Daily Citizen.

Payne said in a text message to the Daily Citizen Thursday afternoon she had been advised not to speak with the media anymore. The Springfield Business Journal reported the departure happened Wednesday after a meeting with city officials. Payne told the Business Journal the exit was contentious, although details have not been independently confirmed by the Daily Citizen.

Payne was instrumental in helping Springfield secure several grants in recent months. On July 25, the Springfield City Council voted to accept a $3 million U.S. Department of Labor grant for its Apprenticeships Building America program. The funds will be administered locally through the Missouri Job Center and by Springfield Director of Workforce Development.

In August, Springfield was announced to receive $17.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to help put Springfieldians to work in well-paying, stable jobs. The money will be awarded to the Quadra-Regional Workforce Alliance (QRWA), a workforce training program established by Springfield’s Department of Workforce Development that covers 51 counties in southern Missouri, including 14 persistent poverty counties. 

The program will train 2,000 individuals across the regions’ health care, trucking and education fields, with a focus on communities of color, women and people with disabilities.

The Springfield Department of Workforce Development has a yearly appropriations budget of about $5.3 million for 2022-2023, and a budgeted staff of 46 full-time employees.

Rance Burger

Rance Burger is the managing editor for the Daily Citizen. He previously covered local governments from February 2022 to April 2023. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia with 17 years experience in journalism. Reach him at or by calling 417-837-3669. Twitter: @RanceBurger More by Rance Burger