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Elinda Dannar named City of Auburn's new HR Director

After nearly 16 years serving Auburn residents as a leader in the Auburn Fire Department, Elinda Dannar will begin a new role as the City of Auburn’s Human Resources director in April.

AUBURN, Ala.- After nearly 16 years serving Auburn residents as a leader in the Auburn Fire Department, Elinda Dannar will begin a new role as the City of Auburn’s Human Resources director in April.

Dannar is a two-time graduate of Auburn University, having earned a master’s degree in industrial and organizational psychology in 2023 and a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies in 2010. She is a certified professional through the Society for Human Resource Management and has a passion for employee development.

“Whether training new recruits in rookie school or handling some of the tougher conversations that you inevitably have to have with your team, I’m drawn to creating cohesive relationships between employees and their organizations,” Dannar said. “HR is such a critical function of any organization, and I look forward to the opportunity to make an impact throughout the City.”

Dannar joined the City of Auburn as a student firefighter in 2008 and rose through the ranks to her most recent position as a fire captain. For more than 10 years, Dannar has been instrumental in Auburn Fire’s personnel efforts, from hiring to training and development. She has worked to streamline policies and recently revised all departmental standard operating guidelines to align with City policy and field standards.

Dannar led an initiative to build trust and improve workplace culture within the Fire Department by conducting an anonymous survey to garner employee feedback about the department’s training programs.

“It’s so easy to get set in our ways and focus on our ideas, but every single person in our organization has something to offer,” Dannar said. “By listening to the voices of our team, we were able to get some great new ideas and begin implementing a plan based on their feedback to help improve training for all of us.”

Alongside her job with Auburn Fire, Dannar was a small business owner from 2012-2017 where she oversaw all aspects of the business, including talent acquisition and employee management, development and training.

“Whether it’s a small business or a larger organization, you have to be the person to create the culture you want for your team and your customers,” Dannar said.

The culture of Auburn is exactly what’s kept her around for the last 16 years. After graduating and beginning her career in fire service, she fell in love with the community and built a life with her family in Auburn. Over time, she realized the parts of her job she was most passionate about revolved around helping and empowering her team.

“I realized I enjoyed helping my team find their own solutions. I enjoyed empowering them to reach levels they didn’t think were possible. I enjoyed seeing them succeed,” Dannar said. “I began to see the potential impact I could have beyond the bounds of the department and decided to make a change.”

Moving forward, Dannar wants to continue improving employee engagement throughout the organization and empowering City employees to reach their full potential.

“Elinda has proven herself to be an incredibly capable and driven individual during her time as a firefighter, and I know she will continue to excel as HR director,” said Auburn City Manager Megan McGowen Crouch. “It’s rare to find someone who has Elinda’s compassion and empathy for people along with the knowledge and recognition of the importance of guidelines and consistency. We’re fortunate to have her here at the City, and I look forward to working alongside her.”