Shelton makes first hire as Tupelo mayor

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By Robbie Ward/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Mayor Jason Shelton’s first hire for his administration is a trusted friend and native Tupelo resident with a wide range of experience to lead the city’s internal and external communications.
Sarah Robinson, 33, will begin serving as communications director for the city on Monday. She has worked since February as a business reporter for the Daily Journal.
Robinson will fill a position created by former Mayor Jack Reed Jr., who hired former WTVA reporter Annabeth Wyatt in 2009. Wyatt will begin work with the Tupelo Public School District this month.
“This is really an exciting time for the city of Tupelo,” Robinson said. “I have total confidence he’ll lead this city in a positive direction and I’m so honored to have the chance to be a part of that.”
Shelton stressed throughout his campaign for mayor a goal of having the most open and accessible administration in the city’s history and said the communications job would be key for achieving it.
“There really was no doubt for me to keep this position,” Shelton said. “We’re going to build on the previous accomplishments of the previous administration.”
The position pays $43,775 annually and will include creating newsletters for city employees, helping write Shelton’s speeches, news releases, enhancing the city’s social media presence and coordinating public events.
Shelton said he has known Robinson since they both attended Tupelo High School. After graduating from high school, Robinson received a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Mississippi and a master’s in public administration from New York University.
Before returning to Tupelo, Robinson lived in the ski resort town of Vail, Colo.
She worked as the annual giving and special programs manager at Vail Valley Medical Center and the development events manager for the Bravo! Vail Valley Music Festival.
She has also worked in the Tennessee Valley Authority’s Washington office, where she produced an in-house newsletter.
Robinson’s political experience includes working for the Grassroots Campaign in 2004, when she canvassed for former Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry.
Shelton said important factors he considered for hiring for the job included professional and educational credentials, along with a level of trust and shared political beliefs.
“It’s incredibly important to have someone you can trust and have confidence in and have agreement in your political philosophy,” he said.
robbie.ward@journalinc.com