The city of Anniston has its first in-house economic developer to lure more retail and jobs to the area.

According to the Dothan Eagle, Eric Basinger, executive director of the Ozark-Dale County Economic Development Corporation, told his board Monday that he was resigning to take and economic developer position with Anniston. His announcement ends a search that Anniston began last year to find an in-house consultant to help lure more business to the city.

City Manager Brian Johnson, who's responsible for city hirings, declined to comment Friday, saying he will not discuss the hire until Monday.

Mayor Vaughn Stewart also declined to comment, saying he was deferring to Johnson since he is in charge of hiring.

"I'll defer to the city manager at this time and let him make the official announcement," Stewart said.

Attempts to reach Basinger for comment Friday were unsuccessful.

According to the Dothan Eagle, Basinger told his board that he will continue working his current job through August.

Basinger's main job will be to help revitalize the city by bringing in retail and commercial business, creating jobs and tax revenue in the process. Anniston's downtown has languished for years with many empty storefronts. City officials have said they want an in-house economic development program that mirrors those used in other cities such as Auburn and Opelika – two areas that have prospered from retail and industrial development in recent years.

Johnson has said he vetted eight candidates in recent months, noting that none of them sought out the job. Johnson has said the candidates were all recommended to him by others in the economic development profession.

Staff writer Patrick McCreless: 256-235-3561. On Twitter @PMcCreless_Star.