Sarah Kerner, a longtime leader at the city of Springfield who is currently the municipality's economic development director, is joining BKD LLP.
Kerner yesterday announced in a public LinkedIn post that she accepted a position as assistant general counsel at BKD. She confirmed her new role via email this morning, saying she starts May 2 at the Springfield-based public accounting firm.
"It has been exciting to work on projects that have such importance for the continued success of our city and the entire Ozarks region. It has also been a true pleasure to work with the city’s team of talented, hard-working and accomplished public servants," Kerner wrote in the LinkedIn post. "As I begin my next career pivot, I look forward to staying connected and collaborating with all of you, even though I am leaving my public-facing role at the city and heading back to the legal world."
Kerner has worked at the city for nearly 15 years, according to her LinkedIn profile. Prior to taking on her current role in 2015, she was assistant city attorney, a position role through which she worked as general counsel for the Springfield-Branson National Airport and as legal adviser for the Springfield Public Works and Springfield-Greene County Health departments. She previously was an associate attorney at Ellis, Ellis, Hammons and Johnson PC after earning her Juris Doctor at the University of Missouri School of Law, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Kerner said it's her understanding at the city that the economic development director title would be converted to assistant director of economic vitality via City Council action. The city in March announced the hiring of Amanda Ohlensehlen to lead the newly created Economic Vitality Department, according to past reporting.
City spokesperson Cora Scott said via email that today is Kerner’s last day. A search will be conducted for her replacement, Scott said.
“She will be missed, having served the community well for so many years,” Scott said.
In her role as economic development director, Kerner has led efforts to provide development assistance and incentives, helping to bring in development projects and secure approval of plans and permits. She's been among proponents of an economic revival of the Kearney Street corridor between Kansas Expressway and Glenstone Avenue, according to past reporting, and she often consults council on matters of economic development.
In the LinkedIn post, she said of her upcoming role at BKD: "I have always been impressed with BKD’s level of professionalism and community involvement, so I am thrilled to be able to join their team."
The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in May the all-items inflation index surged 8.6% over the past year, the highest increase since 1981.