A Kentucky man has been tapped to fill the position of Director of Planning and Development for Walton County vacated by Wayne Dyess in February.

Dyess held the position for six years and tendered his resignation in December.

After sorting through 23 applications, the field was narrowed to five to be interviewed by the Board of County Commissioners. One of the five withdrew and commissioners voted on and ranked the remaining four at Tuesday night's meeting.

The initial vote resulted in a tie between Kristen Shell of Gulf Breeze and Steven Bourne of Hopkinsville, Kentucky.

A second vote pushed Bourne to the top with a 3-2 vote.

Bourne holds a bachelor degree in biology and masters degrees in public administration and policy. He also holds a doctor of jurisprudence degree. He has worked in planning in Kentucky since 1979, currently as Director of Community and Development Services since 1984. He is certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners.

County Manager Larry Jones will begin the process of negotiations with Bourne immediately as commissioners expressed the urgent need to have the director on board as soon as possible due to the number of projects on the docket.