McLeod will transition to his new role beginning Nov. 5.
Alpharetta Mayor David Belle Isle said in a release the city received resumes from more than 90 qualified candidates from around the country.
“Mr. McLeod stood out among them as being not only technically qualified but as a creative professional that could help council identify opportunities for shaping Alpharetta’s future,” LaBelle said.
McLeod said he is looking forward to working for a bigger city with bigger staff and the opportunity to take on more responsibility. He will have a salary of $115,000 and the standard city benefits package.
“Alpharetta is a pretty remarkable place with a tremendous tax base and jobs base,” McLeod said. “I hope to help them establish a vision for the future and get that vision implemented to create a great sense of place for Alpharetta.”
Still, McLeod said he will miss the city of Woodstock staff, with whom he has built great relationships.
“I tell my wife I’m still excited to come to work every single day, even after 10 years,” McLeod said.
McLeod said he and his wife, Shawn, who serves as president of the Elm Street Cultural Arts Village’s board of directors, plan to stay in Woodstock as they are heavily invested in the community and have two children in local schools.
Moving forward, he said he hopes Woodstock residents continue to benefit from efforts put in place during his time with the city.
“I’m extremely humbled and thankful for the opportunity that the citizens and elected officials have given me and I hope I’ve done them proud,” McLeod said.
City Manager Jeff Moon said city officials have not yet started looking for someone to fill McLeod’s role. This past week, Moon said he has been working with McLeod to identify all of his ongoing projects to make sure nothing falls through the cracks.
Moon said he will brief the mayor and council Monday night that the city is searching for a replacement community development director.
Whoever is selected, Moon said he or she has big shoes to fill.
“It’s hard any time someone who’s been in a position as long as Richard has and who’s been involved in so many projects…. It’s going to take some time for whoever it is who comes in and takes over the position to get up to speed.”
However, Moon said the transition will be eased with the fact that McLeod will remain in Woodstock and continue to have a vested interest in the community.
“Also, we have a really good relationship with Alpharetta,” Moon said. “Anytime we need access, we certainly have that open door in communication with him.”
According to Alpharetta officials, McLeod’s efforts in helping reshape downtown Woodstock into a thriving destination that has attracted over $100 million in private investment, as well as his award-winning leadership in the development of Greenprints, Woodstock’s comprehensive trail and green space plan, helped McLeod stand out from other applicants.
Additionally, Alpharetta officials said McLeod’s track record proves he works hard to pursue a vision set by elected leaders and knows how to collaborate with the private sector in doing so.
McLeod is replacing Dana Wheeler, who resigned from the position earlier this year.
Meantime, Kathy Cook, a 12-year veteran of the Alpharetta Community Development Department, will take over as deputy director and will serve as the department’s interim department director until McLeod takes over in November.