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January 12, 2017

This Week: Four new Republican Governors were sworn into office

Four new Republican Governors were sworn into office this week, including three who are replacing a Democratic predecessor. Chris Sununu was inaugurated as Governor of New Hampshire on Thursday, January 5, taking over a role most recently held by new Democratic U.S. Senator Maggie Hassan. Also taking office on January 5 was Vermont Governor Phil Scott, who replaced Democrat Peter Shumlin. On Monday, January 9, Eric Greitens took the responsibilities as Governor of Missouri from Democrat Jay Nixon, and Eric Holcomb replaced Republican Vice President-elect Mike Pence as Governor of Indiana. The increasing Republican takeover of state government is a trend that has coincided with President Obama’s term in office: a Republican is now Governor in 33 states, while only 21 states had Republican Governors in January 2009.
 
Two state senators in Tennessee and West Virginia took the oath of office as Lieutenant Governor this week after being elected to the position by their fellow legislators. Tennessee and West Virginia are the two states in which a member of the State Senate serves in a dual role as Lieutenant Governor and leader of the majority party. Republican Randy McNally took the oath of office as Tennessee’s newest Lieutenant Governor and Speaker of the Tennessee Senate on Tuesday, January 10. Members of the State Senate voted McNally into this position to replace outgoing Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey, who had held the post since 2007. Republican Mitch Carmichael was elected President of the Senate and Lieutenant Governor for the State of West Virginia on Wednesday, January 11. He replaces Bill Cole, who chose not to run for reelection to launch a failed campaign for Governor.
 
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam announced that Randy Boyd will step down from his position as Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development to return to the private sector. Boyd, who was appointed to the role in December 2014, will leave the department on February 1 and return to his former role as Chairman of Radio Systems Corp. In a press release, Governor Haslam wrote, “I will miss his energy, passion and deep commitment to bringing economic growth and success to every corner of the state, and I am grateful for everything he has done for Tennessee.” Boyd has long been considered a contender in a future gubernatorial race, and with term limits preventing Haslam from running again in 2018, many observers predict that Boyd will announce his candidacy soon.
 
 
Cities and Towns:
 
San Francisco, CA – Mayor Ed Lee appointed Jeff Sheehy to the City Board of Supervisors, filling a vacancy for the District 8 seat.  He replaces Scott Wiener, who was recently elected to the California State Senate.  Sheehy is an activist for HIV/AIDS and LGBT equality, having previously served as President of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club.  Mayor Lee says in a press release, “Jeff Sheehy has spent his entire life fighting for his community and for what he believes is right, and I know that as Supervisor, Jeff will be a proven fighter for the residents of his district and for our entire City too.”
 
Honolulu, HI – Mayor Kirk Caldwell appointed Cary Okimoto Acting Chief of Police in Honolulu, effective late January 2017.  He replaces Louis Kealoha, who is retiring following an FBI investigation into a public corruption case involving Kealoha and his wife.  In a press release, Mayor Caldwell says, “I thank the Police Commission for taking decisive action on this matter. I believe the Commission made the right decision to accept Chief Kealoha’s retirement, and he made the correct decision for the sake of the police department and the thousands of officers who serve with integrity, respect and fairness.  I thank Chief Kealoha for his more than 30 years of dedicated public service.”
 
 
Counties and Authorities:
 
Bernalillo County, NM – The Bernalillo County Board of Commissioners met for the first time this year. During the meeting, the Commissioners elected District 1 Commissioner Debbie O’Malley as Chairman and District 2 Commissioner Steven Michael Quezada as Vice Chair for the 2017 session.
 
Lucas County, OH – The Board of County Commissioners met this week to elect Commissioner Pete Gerken as President of the Board for the 2017 session. Gerken also served as Commission President in 2011 and 2012.
 
Hudson County, NJ – The Hudson County Board of Chosen Freeholders met this week to elect leadership. Anthony Vainieri, who served as Vice Chair in 2016, was elected Chairman for the 2017 session.

 

 

 

January 5, 2017

This Week: Indiana Governor-elect Eric Holcomb appointed Tera Klutz to serve as the next State Auditor of the State of Indiana

Three different people have held the title of Governor of New Hampshire this week. Outgoing Governor Maggie Hassan resigned from the position at midnight on Tuesday, January 3, and was sworn into the U.S. Senate later that day. Hassan decided to leave the Office of the Governor two days before her term ended in order to maximize her seniority in the U.S. Senate. Governor-elect Chris Sununu could not take over his new responsibilities until Thursday, January 5. New Hampshire is one of five states that does not have a Lieutenant Governor, and the state constitution mandates that the President of the Senate will act as Governor should a vacancy occur. This led to an unusual situation where Senate President Chuck Morse served as Acting Governor for period of sixty hours. Ironically, Gov. Sununu’s father, John, took over the title of Governor of New Hampshire under similar circumstances in 1983: his predecessor Hugh Gallen died eight days before his term ended and Senate President Vesta Roy served as Acting Governor until he was sworn in.
 
Indiana Governor-elect Eric Holcomb appointed Tera Klutz to serve as the next State Auditor of the State of Indiana. Klutz will fill the remaining two years of current State Auditor Suzanne Crouch’s term after Crouch is sworn in as Lieutenant Governor on January 9. Klutz is currently serving her second term as Auditor of Allen County, the third-most populous county in the state. In a statement announcing his decision, Governor-elect Holcomb wrote, “Having provided efficient and effective government service to the citizens of one of Indiana’s largest counties, I know she will be a valuable asset as we aim to provide exceptional state government service at a great taxpayer value to Hoosiers statewide.”
 
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has appointed State Representative Jack Montoucet to serve as Secretary of the Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Montoucet is filling a vacancy caused by the resignation of Charles Melancon, a former U.S. Representative, whose one-year tenure as head of the agency was marked by public disputes with the state’s congressional delegation, recreational fisherman, and his own employees. Montoucet, an alligator farmer who has represented House District 42 since 2008, will resign from the legislature on January 15 and start his new job at Wildlife and Fisheries a day later. Gov. Edwards issued a press release explaining his decision to appoint Montoucet, saying, “As a businessman, he understands the complex nature of running an organization such as Wildlife and Fisheries, and as an alligator farmer in Acadiana, he shares my belief that nothing should get in the way of Louisiana remaining the Sportsman’s Paradise.”
 
 
Cities and Towns:
 
New York, NY – Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed Marisa Lago as Director of the Department of City Planning and Chair of the Planning Commission, effective February 2017.  She replaces Carl Weisbrod, who has served as Planning Director since 2014.  Lago is currently an Assistant Secretary with the U.S. Department of the Treasury.  In a press release, Lago says, “It’s a great honor to come home to the city I love and be given the chance to make it ever stronger and more equitable.  Change is the one constant in New York, and it is never easy. I’ve had the privilege of learning how to make change work for people and businesses by watching leaders like Carl Weisbrod, and I have spent my entire career finding smart solutions to the tough problems that come with a growing, changing world. We can and we will keep our neighborhoods affordable, our economy competitive, our businesses thriving and our communities strong.”
 
Oakland, CA – Mayor Libby Schaaf appointed Anne Kirkpatrick as Oakland’s Chief of police, effective February 27, 2017.  She replaces Sabrina Landreth, Oakland’s City Administrator, who has been overseeing the department since June 2016.  Kirkpatrick is currently Chief of the Bureau of Professional Standards with the Chicago Police Department.  In a press release, Mayor Schaaf says, “Through our extensive community engagement process that was the cornerstone of our chief search, we heard Oaklanders say clearly that they wanted a leader with integrity and the ability to lead culture change who will improve community-police relations, deliver fair and just policing, prevent violence and increase accountability.  Anne Kirkpatrick is the reform-minded leader Oakland’s been looking for. She is a nationally respected Police Chief and master instructor in leadership development, procedural justice and implicit bias. She has demonstrated she is unafraid to hold officers accountable.  Her deep experience a police chief and sincere excitement about serving the Oakland community will let her hit the ground running and continue Oakland’s momentum in both safety and reforms. In Chief Kirkpatrick Oakland is getting a leader prepared to bring greater accountability, justice and safety to our city.”
 
 
Counties and Authorities:
 
Saginaw County, MI – The Saginaw County Board of Commissioners met this week to swear in four new members and elect new leadership. At the meeting, the board chose District 10 Commissioner Carl Ruth to serve as Chair for 2017.
 
Marin County, CA – The Marin County Board of Supervisors met to swear in one new member and elect leadership. Judy Arnold was chosen to serve as Board President, while Damon Connolly and Kathrin Sears were chosen as First and Second Vice Presidents, respectively. In a press release, Arnold said, “It’s going to be a busy year, and I want my colleagues to know how much I appreciate working with you and how seriously this Board takes its work for the county.”
 
Kalamazoo County, MI – The Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners met this week to elect new leadership. Republican Dale Shugars was elected Chair, despite a Democratic majority on the Board. Democrat Stephanie Moore was elected Vice Chair. 

 

 

 

December 29, 2016

This Week: West Virginia Governor-elect Jim Justice appointed Woody Thrasher to serve as Secretary of the Department of Commerce

Vermont Governor-elect Phil Scott appointed the state’s Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, Joseph Flynn, to serve as the next Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Transportation. Joseph Flynn previously served as the Department of Public Safety’s Emergency Management Office Director. Current Agency of Transportation Secretary, Christopher Cole, has been appointed to serve as Commissioner of the Department of Buildings and General Services.
 
West Virginia Governor-elect Jim Justice has appointed Woody Thrasher to serve as Secretary of the Department of Commerce. Thrasher is currently head of the engineering firm The Thrasher Group, and is the Co-Chair of the Economic Development Policy Committee for the Governor-elect’s transition team. In this role, Thrasher will lead a department of nearly 2,000 employees that oversees the divisions of energy, forestry, labor, miners’ safety, natural resources, and tourism.
 
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf will have a new Press Secretary at the beginning of the new year. J.J. Abbott will step into the role after having spent the previously two years as Deputy Press Secretary. Abbott is replacing Jeffrey Sheridan, who is leaving the Office of the Governor to work on the Gov. Wolf’s reelection campaign. In a statement, Gov. Wolf praised Sheridan for his work as Press Secretary, saying, “For the last two years, Jeff has been an integral part of our successful efforts to invest in education, create economic opportunity for middle class families, and challenge the status quo in Harrisburg.”
 
 
Cities and Towns:
 
Los Angeles, CA – Mayor Eric Garcetti appointed George Kivork as Press Secretary for his administration, effective January 3, 2017.  He replaces Connie Llanos, who has served as Press Secretary since July 2015.   Kivork served as Federal Liaison for Mayor Garcetti in Washington, DC, overseeing federal affairs for the Mayor, since 2014.  From a press release, the Mayor says, “George has been a very effective advocate for L.A.’s goals in Washington.  His understanding of complex federal matters and citywide issues makes him an extraordinary asset to my administration, and I look forward to him joining my team at City Hall.”
 
 
Counties and Authorities:
 
New Castle County, DE – New Castle County Police Chief Elmer Setting will retire on January 3, 2017 after a 28 year career including serving as Chief since 2012. In a press release, County Executive Thomas P. Gordon said, “He has performed brilliantly in service to our community and we all owe him a deep debt of gratitude in making our police force one admired across the country.”

 

 

 

December 22, 2016

This Week: Indiana Governor-Elect Eric Holcomb appointed two members of his senior staff

Indiana Governor-Elect Eric Holcomb appointed two members of his senior staff on Thursday, December 15. Joe Heerens will serve as General Counsel in the Office of the Governor beginning January 9, 2017, the day of Holcomb’s inauguration. Heerens is currently General Counsel of the Indianapolis Airport Authority. Susana Duarte de Suarez has been named Executive Director of Strategic Communications. Suarez previously worked in the George W. Bush administration as Chief Compliance Officer of the Peace Corps.
 
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad appointed Linda Miller as the new Director of the Iowa Department on Aging, effective December 16. Miller had served in the Iowa House of Representatives since 2007, most recently representing District 94. During her time in the legislature she served as Chair of the House Human Resources Committee. In a statement announcing the appointment, Miller was quoted, “As our growing senior citizen population ages, we need to be sure that Iowans have the resources and tools available to remain in their homes safely for as long as they wish.” Miller did not run for reelection to her House seat this year; Republican Gary Mohr was elected to replace her.
 
 
Cities and Towns:
 
San Francisco, CA – Mayor Ed Lee appointed Bill Scott as the next Chief of Police effective January 2017.  He replaces Toney Chaplin, who has been serving as Interim Chief since May 2016.  Scott is currently Deputy Chief of Police with the Los Angeles Police Department.  From a press release, Mayor Lee says, “During the last year, we have made significant steps in building a 21st Century police force. The appointment of Bill Scott as the new Chief of SFPD is our City’s next step on the continued path to reform.  Bill knows first-hand what it takes to not only implement a series of reforms but also the effort it takes to transform a department, rebuild trust and create a transparent and accountable department. He also brings a significant operational and administrative experience needed to keep our streets and neighborhoods safe each day.”
 
Chicago, IL – Mayor Rahm Emanuel shuffled several positions on his staff this week.  Maria Guerra Lapacek takes over as the Mayor’s Director of Legislative Counsel and Government Affairs.  She replaces Anna Valencia, who was recently appointed City Clerk.  Lapacek is currently serving as Commissioner of the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection.  Mayor Emanuel appointed Samantha Fields to replace Lapacek at Business Affairs and Consumer Protection.  From a press release, the mayor says, “Sam and Maria are incredibly talented, and time and time again they have shown their commitment to their work on behalf of Chicago residents.  I have always been able to rely on their advice and counsel, and I know they will continue to serve the city well in their new roles.”
 
 
Counties and Authorities:
 
Dallas County, TX - Dallas County Assistant District Attorney Messina Madson announced last week that she will be leaving the District Attorney's Office on December 30, 2016. Madson has headed the office while the county searched for a successor to former District Attorney Susan Hawk, who resigned in September. In her resignation letter, Madson said, "My passion for criminal justice and my commitment to our community stands strong. I am grateful to this office for preparing me for what lies next in my career as I look forward to new opportunities to make Dallas a thought leader in criminal justice reform."
 
Passaic County, NJ - Assad Akhter was sworn in as County Freeholder last week. Akhter fills a vacancy left by Hector Lora, who was appointed Mayor of the city of Passaic, NJ. Akhter will fill the remainder of Lora's unexpired term, through January 2018.

 

 

December 15, 2016

This Week: Maggie Toulouse Oliver was sworn in as New Mexico's Secretary of State

Doug Burgum officially began his duties as Governor of North Dakota on Thursday, December 15, along with his running mate and new Lieutenant Governor Brent Sanford. Jodi Uecker is serving as Chief Operating Officer within the Office of the Governor, and JoDee Hanson will be the Governor’s Chief Administrative Officer. Ron Rauschenberger, the Chief of Staff to North Dakota’s previous two governors, is serving as a Senior Advisor to Gov. Burgum during the transition period. Governor Burgum will have a ceremonial inauguration on January 3, 2017.
 
Maggie Toulouse Oliver was sworn in as New Mexico’s Secretary of State on Friday, December 9. Toulouse Oliver won a special election in November to serve the remaining two years of former Secretary of State Dianna Duran’s term in office. Duran resigned from office in October 2015 after being charged with embezzlement of campaign funds. Immediately upon taking office, Toulouse Oliver named two senior members of her staff. John Blair will serve as Deputy Secretary of State and Chief of Staff after having most recently been Director of Intergovernmental Affairs at the U.S. Department of the Interior. Theresa Chavez-Romero will be Toulouse Oliver’s Executive Assistant.
 
Delaware Governor-Elect John Carney has named several new members of his incoming administration, including a General Counsel and Communications Director. Danielle Gibbs will leave her position at the Delaware Department of Justice to serve as General Counsel in the Office of the Governor. Jonathan Starkey will be Carney’s Communications Director, after having served as Director of Public Relations at Delaware State Housing Authority for the past year. Carney also announced he will nominate Mike Jackson as Director of the Office of Management and Budget, Perry Phelps as Commissioner of the Department of Correction, Jennifer Cohan to continue to serve as Secretary of the Department of Transportation, and Jeffrey Bullock to continue serving as Secretary of State.
 
 
Cities and Towns:
 
San Francisco, CA – Mayor Ed Lee appointed Brian Strong as Chief Resilience Officer for the city.  He will oversee policy and implementation on resilience, earthquake safety and capital planning.  In a press release, Mayor Lee says, “San Francisco’s leadership on resilience is an example for our nation.  Brian Strong created the City’s Capital Plan and brings more than a decade of proven leadership to this vital resilience work. I am pleased to announce his appointment as San Francisco’s Chief Resilience Officer.”
 
Philadelphia, PA – Mayor Jim Kenney appointed Christine Derenick-Lopez Acting Chief Administrative Officer.  She replaces Rebecca Rhynhart, who served as CAO for the past year.  Derenick-Lopez has 20 years of service in the public sector, most recently as Deputy CAO for the city.  In a press release, Mayor Kenney said, “Rebecca Rhynhart has done a great job during her tenure as CAO, spearheading procurement reform and modernizing city purchasing practices. I wish her well.  I am confident Christine Derenick-Lopez will do a great job in leading this cabinet and continuing to push for innovation and modernization across our Administration.”
 
San Marcos, TX – The city held runoff elections last week, electing John Thomaides as Mayor and Saul Gonzales and Ed Mihalkanin as new City Council Members.  The newly elected officials will be sworn into office on December 21, 2016.
 
 
Counties and Authorities:
 
Plaquemines Parish, LA – Amos Cormier III won a runoff election on Saturday, defeating Kirk Lepine for the position of Plaquemines Parish President. Cormier, who starts on January 3, 2017,  will fill the unexpired term of his father, Amos Cormier Jr., who passed away in June 2016.
 
Monmouth County, NJ – The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders selected Michael D. Fitzgerald to be the county’s next Attorney. Fitzgerald, who had served as a Committeeman for Colts Neck Township, will start in the position on January 9, 2017.

 

 

December 8, 2016

This Week: North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory conceded defeat to Roy Cooper in the gubernational race after a four-week long stalemate

On Monday, December 5, North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory conceded defeat to Roy Cooper in the gubernatorial race, ending a nearly four-week long series of district recount petitions. Cooper, the state’s Democratic Attorney General, held a slim lead on election night, and the lead continued to grow as provisional ballots were counted. Unofficial elections results on the North Carolina State board of Elections website showed Cooper with a lead of slightly greater than 10,000 votes, which was the threshold for a statewide recount. In a video posted on the Office of the Governor’s YouTube page, Gov. McCrory said, “Despite continued questions that should be answered regarding the voting process, I personally believe that the majority of our citizens have spoken, and we now should do everything we can to support the 75th governor of North Carolina, Roy Cooper.” An hour after McCrory’s concession, Buck Newton, the Republican nominee in the Attorney General contest, conceded defeat to Democratic candidate Josh Stein. The race for State Auditor, in which Democratic incumbent Beth Wood leads Republican challenger Chuck Stuber by fewer than 6,000 votes, is going to a statewide recount. Governor-Elect Roy Cooper wasted no time setting up his new administration and named two members of his senior staff on Wednesday, December 7. Kristi Jones will serve as Chief of Staff, continuing the role she has served for Cooper in the Office of the Attorney General. Ken Eudy will be Cooper’s Senior Advisor.
 
Texas Governor Greg Abbott appointed Rolando Pablos to lead the Office of the Secretary of State. Pablos will replace Carlos Cascos, will is stepping down from the role on January 4, 2017. Pablos is the current Chair of the Texas Racing Commission, and previously served on the Public Utility Commission of Texas from 2011 to 2013. In a statement announcing the decision, Gov. Abbott said, “Rolando’s extensive record in public service and breadth of knowledge inspires confidence that he will be committed to the constitutional duties of the office and ensure the dispassionate application of election law.”
 
Dino Rossi was appointed to replace the late Andy Hill in the Washington State Senate. The King County Council selected Rossi from a list of three candidates proposed by local Republican Party officials. Rossi served in the State Senate from 1997 to 2003 before running for Governor in 2004, eventually losing to Democratic candidate Christine Gregoire by a margin of 129 votes. After another failed gubernatorial run in 2008 and a loss in the 2010 U.S. Senate race, Rossi spent a second tenure in the State Senate from 2012 to 2013. Rossi will represent District 45, which covers Seattle’s northeastern suburbs.
 
 
Cities and Towns:
 
Redding, CA – The City Council held their reorganizing meeting this week and elected Brent Weaver as Mayor for the 2017 session.  He has served on the City Council since 2014.  Weaver replaces Missy McArthur who did not run in the November election. 
 
Baltimore, MD – Mayor Catherine Pugh was sworn into office on December 6, 2016.  She announced the following staff members in her office: Tisha Edwards as Chief of Staff, Peter Hammen as Chief of Operations, Jim Smith as Chief of Strategic Alliances, Karen Stokes as Director of Government Relations, and Anthony McCarthy as Director of Communications.  From a press release, Mayor Pugh says, “I am very excited to bring this dynamic team with me to City Hall.  This team has an exceptional track record of public service and they will help me to transform Baltimore into a thriving and vibrant city for businesses and residents.”
 
Los Angeles, CA – Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that City Administrative Office Miguel Santana will retire December 31, 2016, after seven years of service with the City.  Santana will join the Los Angeles County Fair Association as Chief Executive Officer in January 2017.  From a press release, Mayor Garcetti says, “Keeping our fiscal house in order is one of the most important responsibilities we have to the people of Los Angeles, and Miguel Santana has done an excellent job guiding that effort.  I am grateful for his years of service, and I know the example he set will continue to help us manage Angelenos’ tax dollars as effectively and responsibly as possible.”
 
 
Counties and Authorities:
 
San Bernardino, CA – County Supervisor Curt Hagman Appointed Katherine Kolcheva as Chief of staff. Kolcheva, who had previously been Deputy Chief of Staff, replaces Mike Spence, who left last month.
 
Marin County, CA – Brian Washington will serve as Marin County’s next County Counsel. Washington, who is currently Chief Assistant County Counsel, takes over for current Counsel Steven Woodside on January 9, 2017. In a press release, County Administrator Matthew Hymel said, “Brian stood above a very talented field of applicants. He has both the intelligence and experience to provide legal advice to the Board of Supervisors and our County departments.”

 

 

December 1, 2016

This Week: Vermont Governor-Elect Phil Scott announced four appointments to the staff of his incoming administration

On November 23, 2016, President-elect Donald J. Trump announced his intention to nominate South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley to serve as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations. In a press release, Gov. Haley announced she would accept the offer, writing, “When the President believes you have a major contribution to make to the welfare of our nation, and to our nation’s standing in the world, that is a calling that is important to heed.” If the U.S. Senate confirms Haley’s nomination, current Lieutenant Governor Henry McMaster would be elevated to the Office of the Governor. McMaster is a Republican who served as South Carolina’s Attorney General from 2003 to 2011.
 
Vermont Governor-Elect Phil Scott announced four appointments to the staff of his incoming administration. Jason Gibbs will serve as his Chief of Staff. Gibbs formerly worked in the administration of Governor Jim Douglas as Press Secretary, Civil and Military Affairs Secretary, and Commissioner of the Forest, Parks and Recreation Department. Rachel Feldman, who currently serves as Chief of Staff to Scott in the Office of the Lieutenant Governor, will continue to serve under Scott as Senior Director of Boards, Commissions and Public Service. Brittney Wilson will serve as Civil and Military Affairs Secretary, and Kendal Smith will serve as Director of Policy Development and Legislative Affairs. Scott will be sworn in as Governor on January 5, 2017.
 
As the 2016 election cycle nears an end, races to be held in 2017 are heating up. Ed Gillespie, the former Chair of the Republican National Committee, is the early frontrunner for the Republican nomination in Virginia’s gubernatorial race. Gillespie announced the hiring of several members of his Gillespie for Governor campaign staff on Monday, November 28, including Chris Leavitt as Campaign Manager and Generra Woods as Policy Director. Virginia’s current Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam is the only Democrat to have officially joined the race at this time. New Jersey will hold the other gubernatorial election in 2017, and Chris Christie will be forced out of office due to term limits. State Assembly Member John Wisniewski, who served as Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Investigations into the Bridgegate scandal, officially declared his candidacy as a Democrat this month. He will face Jim Johnson, the former Under Secretary of the Treasury for Enforcement, and Phil Murphy, the former U.S. Ambassador to Germany, in the Democratic primary on June 6, 2017.
 
 
Cities and Towns:
 
Boston, MA – Mayor Martin Walsh appointed Chris Osgood as Acting Commissioner of Public Works.  He replaces Michael Dennehy, who left for a position with the town of Milton, MA.  Dennehy is a 23 year veteran of the Public Works Department.  Osgood is the current Chief of Streets, Transportation and Sanitation in Boston.  From a press release, Mayor Walsh says, “We owe great thanks to Michael for his incredible service to the City.  He has exceptionally high standards for the services we deliver and has built a very strong team to meet those standards every day. Whether it was leading our City through our snowiest winter or ensuring that a 311 call was responded to quickly and well, Michael delivered for our residents.”
 
Trenton, NJ – Mayor Eric Jackson appointed Walter Denson Acting Director of Law for the city.  He replaces Marc McKithen, who resigned to accept a position as Chief Municipal Judge, following Rodney Thompson’s appointment to the New Jersey Superior Court.  Denson served as Law Director under former Trenton Mayor Tony Mack.  From a report, Mayor Jackson said, “Judge Thompson will do an outstanding job in Superior Court, Judge McKithen will do an outstanding job helping us to continue to move the municipal court forward and Acting Law Director Walter Denson will continue to be a hardworking, energetic, forward-thinking director who continues to move our law division forward and our city.”
 
 
Counties and Authorities:
 
Polk County, FL – The Board of County Commissioners met last week to reorganize for the 2016-2017 legislative session. Newly elected Commissioner Bill Braswell was sworn in, and the Board elected Melony Bell to serve as Chair and Todd Dantzler to serve as Vice Chair.
 
Pinellas County, FL – The Board of County Commissioners met last week to reorganize for the 2016-2017 Legislative Session. During the meeting, they elected Commissioner Janet Long as Chairman and Kenneth Welch as Vice Chairman. In a press release, Long said, “I’m truly honored and humbled to serve on this Board of County Commissioners. I look forward to finding more ways to make life better for the citizens of Pinellas County in 2017. These are exciting times.”

 

 

November 23, 2016

This Week: Indiana Governor-Elect Eric Holcomb named Earl Goode to serve as Chief of Staff

North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory has officially filed for a statewide recount after initial vote counts show him trailing challenger Roy Cooper. According to unofficial results, Democratic nominee Cooper leads the Republican incumbent McCrory by 6,154 votes out of approximately 4.7 million ballots cast. Cooper declared victory in the race on election night, and has already announced a transition team. Despite this, McCrory has refused to concede, and has alleged voter fraud in more than half of North Carolina’s 100 counties. Several county election boards have openly disputed these claims of fraud. Joining McCrory in requesting a recount is Chuck Stuber, the Republican nominee to fill the Office of the State Auditor. Democratic incumbent Beth Wood currently leads Stuber by fewer than 3,000 votes, which amounts to a difference of .06 percent of the total vote. North Carolina state law allows recounts for statewide races that are decided by fewer than 10,000.
 
On November 22, 2016, Mayor Muriel Bowser nominated Antwan Wilson to serve as Chancellor of District of Columbia Public Schools. Wilson is currently the Superintendent of Oakland Unified School District. In a press release, Bowser praised Wilson for his work in Oakland, saying, “His efforts have led to increased high school graduation rates, decreased out-of-school discipline, and a decade-high investment in teacher pay.” John Davis has been serving as the Interim Chancellor since Kaya Henderson stepped down from the position earlier this fall. If Wilson’s nomination is confirmed by the Council of the District of Columbia, Wilson will begin his new job on February 1, 2017.
 
Indiana Governor-Elect Eric Holcomb named Earl Goode to serve as Chief of Staff in his incoming administration. Goode served alongside his new boss in the Office of Governor Mitch Daniels, Indiana’s former governor. Goode was Chief of Staff to Daniels from 2006 to 2013, and Holcomb was Deputy Chief of Staff from 2009 to 2011. Goode is also currently heading up Holcomb’s transition team, Next Level Indiana.
 
 
Cities and Towns:
 
Chicago, IL – Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed Joe Deal as his Chief of Staff, effective December 1, 2016.  He replaces Eileen Mitchell, who has served as Chief of Staff since August 2015.  Deal has served as Mayor Emanuel’s Chief Operating Officer since 2013.  In a press release, Mayor Emanuel says, "There's no one better able to pick up where Eileen left off and build on the progress we have made over the past five years than Joe Deal.  Joe has a wealth of City experience and institutional knowledge, and most importantly he knows how to get things done. Joe has distinguished himself serving in my administration for the past five years, and he has my trust and confidence to serve our City as my Chief of Staff."
 
Passaic, NJ – Hector Lora was appointed Interim Mayor of Passaic, just hours after former Mayor Alex Blanco pleaded guilty to federal bribery charges and resigned.  Lora is currently a Freeholder with Passaic County’s Board of Chosen Freeholders.  From a report, Lora says, “There's healing to be done.  The public trust has been compromised. I understand that. I want to make sure the public knows someone is in charge."  Interim Mayor Lora stated that he intends to run for a full term as Passaic’s Mayor in May 2017.
 
 
Counties and Authorities:
 
Hillsborough County, FL – The County Board of Commissioners held their reorganization meeting this week, swearing in reelected incumbent Commissioners Sandra Murman and Les Miller, as well as newly elected Commissioner Pat Kemp. The board also elected officers for the next year, with Stacy White serving as Chairman and Sandra Murman as Vice Chairman of the Board. The proceedings were outlined in a press release.
 
Hamilton County, OH – The Board of County Commissioners appointed Interim County Administrator Jeff Aluotto to the position permanently this week. Aluotto had been serving as Interim County Administrator since April 2016.

 

 

November 17, 2016

This Week: Hawaii State Representative passed away just one week after winning election

Delaware Governor-Elect John Carney has appointed two familiar names to serve as part of his immediate staff when he is sworn in next January. Carney announced that Doug Gramiak will be his Chief of Staff. Gramiak was Executive Assistant to Lieutenant Governor Carney from 2001 to 2009, and then served as State Director in U.S. Representative Carney’s Wilmington Office from 2011 to 2014. In a statement, Carney said Gramiak “brings both the political and policy skills we need to put into action our plans to create jobs and improve our schools.” Carney also announced Sheila Grant will serve as his Deputy Chief of Staff. Grant currently serves as Chief of Staff in the Office of Representative John C. Carney.
 
The Nevada State Senate Democratic caucus has named new leadership after gained control of the chamber in the November 8 general election. Aaron D. Ford was named Majority Floor Leader, after having served as Minority Floor Leader for the last two years. Kelvin Atkinson will be Assistant Majority Leader. Joyce Woodhouse and Pat Spearman will share duties as Co-Majority Whips, and Moises Denis will be President Pro Tempore. Republican Michael Roberson is now Minority Floor Leader. 
 
Hawaii State Representative Clift Tsuji passed away on Tuesday, November 15, just one week after winning election to his seventh consecutive term in office. Tsuji was a Democrat who represented District 2, which covered parts of Hilo on Hawaii’s Big Island.  Governor David Ige issued a statement calling Tsuji “a quiet man with a big heart who had the courage to stand for his convictions.” Ige will appoint a successor to fill District 2 of the Hawaii House of Representatives at a later date. Tsuji was 75 years old.
 
 
Cities and Towns:
 
Boston, MA – Mayor Martin Walsh has announced that Press Secretary Bonnie McGilpin would be serve as Director of Communications for the Boston Planning and Development Agency, effective November 21, 2016.  McGilpin had served as the Mayor’s Press Secretary since January 2015.
 
Pittsburgh, PA – Police Chief Cameron McLay submitted his resignation effective November 8, 2016.  Mayor Bill Peduto appointed Assistant Chief Scott Schubert as Acting Chief of Police, during the search for a permanent replacement.
 
 
Counties and Authorities:
 
Howard County, MD – Maryland Governor Larry Hogan named William McMahon as Sheriff of Howard County last week. McMahon replaces James Fitzgerald, who resigned las month after an investigation revealed discrimination in the Sheriff’s office. In a press release, McMahon said, “As a 30-year resident of the county, I am deeply committed to upholding our laws and working to ensure the safety of all citizens of our county and our great state.”
 
Greene County, MO – The Greene County Commission chose Trysta Herzog as Director of Communications and Public Engagement. Herzog, who will start in her new position on November 21, said in a press release, “I am grateful for this opportunity to serve my community and work with County leaders to maintain their culture of transparency. Like this organization, I believe citizens are the backbone of government, and we are at our finest when we partner with our hard-working taxpayers to make Greene County work. I look forward to being an instrumental part of that collaboration."

 

New Mayors and County Executives:

The Municipal content team is currently researching and updating election results from the November 8 general election.  Following is a list of newly elected Mayors and County executives added this week:
 
Chino Valley, AZ – Mayor-Elect Darryl Croft
 
Daly City, CA – Mayor-Elect Glenn Sylvester
 
Fremont, CA – Mayor-Elect Lily Mei
 
Hillsboro, OR – Mayor-Elect Steve Callaway
 
Irvine, CA – Mayor-Elect Don Wagner
 
Pomona, CA – Mayor-Elect Tim Sandoval
 
Portsmouth, VA – Mayor-Elect John L. Rowe, Jr.
 
Roseville, CA – Mayor-Elect Susan Rohan
 
Stockton, CA – Mayor-Elect Michael Tubbs
 
Vineland, NJ – Mayor-Elect Anthony Fanucci
 
Wichita Falls, TX – Mayor-Elect Stephen Santellana
 
Cameron County, TX - County Judge-Elect Eddie Trevino
 
Clackamas County, OR - Chairman of the Board of Commissioners-Elect Jim Bernard,
 
Cobb, GA County - Chairman of the Board of Commissioners-Elect Mike Boyce
 
New Castle County, DE - County Executive-Elect Matt Meyer

 

November 10, 2016

This Week: Eight new Governors and some undecided races

Fourteen states held gubernatorial elections on Tuesday night, and eight new governors were elected to office. Vermont voters elected Republican Peter Shumlin as their new Governor. Their eastern neighbors, New Hampshire, elected Republican Chris Sununu to replace U.S. Senator-Elect Maggie Hassan as Governor. U.S. Representative John Carney will be Delaware’s newest Governor. Billionaire coal executive Jim Justice was elected Governor of West Virginia, continuing the Democratic Party’s control of the governor’s seat in the state. Republican Eric Holcomb was elected to succeed Vice President-Elect Mike Pence as Governor of Indiana. North Dakota voters chose Republican Doug Burgum as their new Governor. In Missouri, Republican Eric Greitens was elected Governor, and Puerto Rico elected Ricardo Rosselló of the New Progressive Party. Incumbents Gary Herbert of Utah, Steve Bullock of Montana, Kate Brown of Oregon, Jay Inslee of Washington, and Lolo Moliga of American Samoa were each reelected. North Carolina remains undecided as of Thursday morning.

Two days after polls closed in North Carolina three statewide races remain undecided, including one of the nation’s most closely-watched gubernatorial contest. Democrat Roy Cooper leads incumbent Republican Governor Pat McCrory by 5,227 votes, which equals a margin of .11 percentage points. With more than 44,000 provisional ballots still left to be counted, McCrory has not yet conceded the race. McCrory was the only incumbent governor running for reelection this year who faced a realistic shot of being ousted. His tenure as Governor has coincided with negative approval ratings and nationwide outrage over a controversial voter ID law and a bill mandating individuals in government buildings use restrooms that correspond to the gender on their birth certificate. His opponent, Cooper, is a popular Attorney General who has narrowly led McCrory in polls taken throughout the year. Two other statewide races in North Carolina have yet be called. In the Attorney General election, Democrat Josh Stein leads Republican Buck Newton by approximately 21,000 votes, which is less than half a percentage of all votes cast. The race for State Auditor is even closer, with Democratic incumbent Beth Wood clinging to a 50.04 percent to 49.96 percent lead over Republican challenger Chuck Stuber. 4.7 million voters cast ballots in the Tar Heel State, which accounts for 68.21 percent of all eligible voters. 

 
Cities and Towns:

New York, NY – President and CEO of NYC Health + Hospitals, Dr. Ram Raju, will step down from his position on November 30, 2016.  Mayor Bill de Blasio has recommended Stanley Brezenoff as Interim President and CEO.  Brezenoff had served as President and CEO under former Mayor Ed Koch.  In a press release, Stanley Brezenoff says, “Dr. Raju's leadership has paved the way for the nation's largest public healthcare system to implement a bold transformation plan that will keep entire communities healthy. I'm committed to ensuring a smooth transition that supports the critical efforts to preserve Health + Hospitals’ essential safety-net mission and modernizing healthcare services for the 21st century. New Yorkers deserve high-quality affordable health care, and a transformed Health + Hospitals will be the cornerstone of a vibrant and equitable city.”

 
Counties and Authorities:

Arlington County, VA – The Arlington County Board of Commissioners chose Dr. Chris Horton as County Auditor. Horton, who starts in his new position on November 21, comes to the county from nearby Fairfax County, where he was Auditor General for Fairfax County Public Schools. In a press release, Board Chair Libby Garvey said, “Dr. Horton will play a key role in our continuing efforts to strengthen County operations and ensure that public funds are spent responsibly, efficiently and in a transparent manner.”

 

New Mayors and County Executives:

The Municipal content team is currently researching and updating election results from the November 8 general election.  Following is a list of newly elected Mayors and County executives so far:

Bakersfield, CA – Mayor-elect Karen Goh

Baltimore, MD – Mayor-elect Catherine Pugh

Berkeley, CA – Mayor-elect Jesse Arreguín

Corpus Christi, TX – Mayor-elect Dan McQueen

Eugene, OR – Mayor-elect Lucy Vinis

Fresno, CA – Mayor-elect Lee Brand

Hollywood, FL – Mayor-elect Josh Levy

Richmond, VA – Mayor-elect Levar M. Stoney

Salem, OR – Mayor-elect Chuck Bennett

DeKalb County, GA – Chief Executive Officer-elect Michael Lamar Thurmond

New Castle County, DE – County Executive-elect Matt Meyer

Pierce County, WA – County Executive-elect Bruce Dammeier

 
 
 

November 3, 2016

This Week: Democratic Montana Governor Steve Bullock is in a tight race against Republican challenger Greg Gianforte

On Thursday, October 27, 2016, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy nominated Katie Dykes to serve on the state’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority. Dykes has been Deputy Commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection since March 2012. She also served in President Obama’s administration as Deputy General Counsel at the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality. If her nomination is confirmed by the legislature, she will fill a seat recently vacated by Arthur House, who was named Chief Cyber Security Risk Officer last month.
 
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker appointed Heather Smith to be his Deputy Chief of Staff for Budget, Legislative, and Intergovernmental Affairs, effective November 28, 2016. In a statement, Gov. Walker praised Smith, saying, “Her vast legislative and policy experience will serve invaluable as we move into the next state budget and legislative session.” Smith will replace Cindy Polzin, who has served in the Office of the Governor since 2011.
 
Democratic Montana Governor Steve Bullock, who seemed to be cruising to reelection earlier this year, has now found himself in a tight race against Republican challenger Greg Gianforte. Bullock was elected to his first term in 2012 with just 49 percent of the vote, but since then his approval rating among his constituents has consistently been above 60 percent. Gianforte, a multimillionaire tech executive with a largely self-funded campaign, has hammered the state with television and radio ads in an effort to shorten Bullock’s lead. Although most pollsters rate this race as leaning Democrat, a Mason Dixon poll from early October gives Bullock a too-close-for-comfort 47 percent to 45 percent lead over Gianforte. Bullock is banking his reelection hopes on high voter-turnout in the Democratic-leaning state capitol of Helena and the union stronghold of Butte.
 
Cities and Towns:
Denver, CO – Mayor Michael Hancock announced that Stacie Loucks, Executive Director of the Department of Excise and Licenses, will resign on November 4, 2016.  She is replaced by Ashley Kilroy, currently the Executive Director of Marijuana Policy for Mayor Hancock.  Kilroy will continue to oversee Marijuana Policy in her new role with Excise and Licenses.  In a press release, Ashley Kilroy states, “Being at the forefront of marijuana policy in this new and evolving landscape has been a privilege, and “I’m thankful for the opportunity to take our innovative, collaborative approach to licensing. I look forward to embedding marijuana policy within the operations of the department, as well as furthering the progress the Excise and Licenses team has made in improving customer services for Denver’s businesses and neighborhoods.”
 
New York, NY – President and CEO of NYC Health and Hospitals, Dr. Ram Raju, appointed Rosa Colon-Kolacko as Senior Vice President and Chief People Officer for the city’s health system. She previously served as President and Founder of Global Learning and Diversity Partners, who focus on multicultural inclusion in health systems.  In a press release, Dr. Raju states, “We are very fortunate to have Dr. Colon-Kolacko join our team.  Our people are our most important asset, and she will provide the needed staff support to help us as we transform into a health care delivery system of tomorrow."
 
Counties and Authorities:
Los Angeles County, CA – Los Angeles County has hired Gary Gero to the newly created position of Chief Sustainability Officer. Gero, who most recently was President of the Climate Action Reserve, will help the county adopt more sustainable practices in its day-to-day operations. In a press release, County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said, “The County needs to implement an ambitious set of plans on a regional scale. That’s what this position is designed to do, and Gary Gero has the right mix of vision and roll-up-your-sleeves pragmatism to make it happen.”
 
Riverside County, CA – County Superintendent of Schools Kenneth Young announced this week that he will retire on January 4, 2017. Young, who was elected to the position in 2006, will be joining AVID, a college readiness organization. In an announcement, Young said, “In reality, the work I will be engaged in at the AVID Center is a national expansion of the college and career readiness focus for all students I have been advocating and supporting across our region as County Superintendent through the Riverside County Office of Education.”
 
 
 

October 27, 2016

This Week: Corley Ellis was sworn in as a member of the Alabama House of Representatives

Democrat Colin Van Ostern has taken a slight lead in the polls over Republican Chris Sununu as the gubernatorial race in New Hampshire comes down to the final weeks. A recent poll from Monmouth gave Van Ostern a 48 percent to 43 percent advantage over Sununu, and a poll from WMUR/University of New Hampshire puts Ostern’s lead at 44 to 38. Over the summer both poll sources indicated Sununu had a healthy lead in the race. This reversal of fortune could be a result of Donald Trump’s campaign troubles trickling down into statewide races; Sununu endorsed Trump in the presidential race earlier this year, but denounced the candidate following the release of the Access Hollywood video.
 
Corley Ellis was sworn in as a member of the Alabama House of Representatives on Thursday, October 20. Ellis, a Republican, fills the District 41 seat that was vacated by Mike Hill, who resigned in July to become Superintendent of the Banking Department. Ellis is a former member of the Shelby County Commission.He fills the remainder of Hill’s term which will expire in November 2018.
 
Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval named Bradley Crowell to serve as Director of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, effective December 12, 2016. Crowell has served at the U.S. Department of Energy since 2010. In 2013, President Barack Obama nominated Crowell to his current position as Assistant Secretary for Congressional, Intergovernmental and External Affairs for the department, a position requiring Senate confirmation. Crowell was previously a Legislative Assistant in the Office of Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.). In a statement announcing the decision, Gov. Sandoval said, “Brian has a strong foundation in natural resource, energy and conservation management and I am confident his experience will be a benefit to the Silver State.”

Cities and Towns:
New York, NY – Mayor Bill de Blasio has appointed Miguel A. Gamiño as the city’s Chief Technology Officer, effective late November 2016.  Gamiño replaces Minerva Tantoco, who resigned in August 2016.  Gamiño currently serves as Chief Information Officer at the Department of Technology in San Francisco, CA, a position he has held since 2014.  In a press release, Mayor de Blasio says, “The CTO for NYC blends big picture tech innovation with the promise of what’s possible to improve government services and expand broadband access to level the playing field for all New Yorkers.  I welcome Miguel Gamiño, who brings the experience, savvy, and forward thinking we need to advance New York City as a hub for not only thinking, but doing.”
 
Charlotte, NC – Marcus D. Jones was selected as the new City Manager in Charlotte, effective December 1, 2016.  He replaces Ron Kimble, who has been serving as Acting City Manager since July.  Jones is currently the City Manager in Norfolk, VA, a position he has held since 2011.  From a press release, Mayor Jennifer Roberts said, “The council and I look forward to working with Marcus in making Charlotte a 21st century city where opportunity is open to all.  We have a lot of great work to do as a growing, innovative city, and it is clear from Marcus’ track record and references that he is ready to roll up his sleeves and hit the ground running.”
 
Counties and Authorities:
Regional Transit Authority (Chicago) - Ryan S. Higgins was appointed to the Board of the Regional Transit Authority, representing Cook County, IL. Higgins, who is a partner with McDermott Will & Emery LLP, succeeds Ronald Totten, who had served on the board since 2010. In a press release, Board Chairman Kirk Dillard said, “Mr. Higgins grew up in the RTA region and chose to return here to pursue his legal career and become involved in the northwest suburban community and region as a whole.  I am sure his understanding of our regional transit system and the six counties served by the RTA and Service Boards will make him a wonderful addition to our board.”

  

October 20, 2016

This Week: Vermont gubernatorial candidates meet in race's final debate

Vermont gubernatorial candidates Phil Scott and Sue Minter went head-to-head in the race’s final debate held on Tuesday, October 18 in Burlington. Republican Phil Scott, the current Lieutenant Governor, stressed a need to limit budget spending growth, while Democrat Sue Minter spoke about the need for greater mental health services. Polls show the race being as being a toss-up, with a recent Vermont Public Radio poll giving Scott a one point lead. The winner will fill a two-year term and succeed outgoing Governor Peter Shumlin. Although Vermont is one the most reliably Democratic states in the country, Republican gubernatorial candidates have consistently performed well there. Republican Jim Douglas won four gubernatorial elections from 2002 to 2008, and two years ago, Republican Scott Milne lost to incumbent Peter Shumlin by a mere 2,500 votes.
 
 
Georgia Governor Nathan Deal appointed Chris Carr to serve as the state’s next Attorney General, effective November 1, 2016.  Carr will replace outgoing Attorney General Sam Olens, who will be leaving the office to serve as President of Kennesaw State University. Carr is currently serving as Commissioner of the Georgia Department of Economic Development (GDEcD), and was formerly Chief of Staff in the Office of U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson from 2007 to 2013. In a press release, Gov. Deal praised Carr, saying, “He is a leader with common sense, brilliant intellect and wide range of experiences at the global, federal and state levels.” to fill the impending vacancy at the head of GDEcD, Gov. Deal nominated Pat Wilson, the current Chief Operating Officer of the agency, to the position of Commissioner. Wilson’s nomination must be approved by the department’s board.
 
Stephen Sweeney, the President of the New Jersey Senate, removed Nia Gill from her position as Chair of the chamber’s Commerce committee. Gill had held the position as Chair for more than a decade. Sweeney and Gill are both Democrats, but had reported disagreed about agenda and leadership styles. Nellie Pou has been installed as the new Chair of the Commerce committee. This is the first time in Sweeney’s seven-year tenure as President of the Senate that he has removed a senator from a leadership position in the middle of a session.

Cities and Towns:
Clarksville, TN – Mayor Kim McMillan has appointed Jennifer Byard as the new Director of the Parks and Recreation Department.  She had been serving as Interim Director and was previously Assistant Director for Parks and Recreation.  From a press release, Byard says, “I knew I was home when I moved to Parks and Recreation in April 2003.  I am very excited for this opportunity to lead the department. We have an amazing staff that works hard to create recreational opportunities for Clarksville and I am proud to be a part of that."
 
Denver, CO – Mayor Michael Hancock has appointed Alan Salazar as his new Chief of Staff, effective November 21, 2016.  He replaces Janice Sinden, who left to serve as President and CEO of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts.  Salazar is currently working as a Senior Advisor for the Hillary Clinton campaign.  From a press release, Mayor Hancock says, “Having spent his career working in Colorado, Alan truly cares about the future of our community and will bring that dedication to the people of Denver.  His in-depth knowledge of the work at-hand and his strong background in bringing diverse interests together will help to move Denver forward.”
 
Counties and Authorities:
Middlesex County, NJ – The Democratic Party of Middlesex County has chosen Shanti Narra to fill a vacancy on the County’s Board of Chosen Freeholders. Narra takes over for Freeholder H. James Polos, who resigned earlier this month to take leadership of the Middlesex County Improvement Authority. She will serve as Freeholder until the term ends in December 2017, and intends to run for a full term next year.
 
Santa Clara County, CA – TheBoard of County Supervisors named James R. Williams as County Counsel this week. Williams has been serving as Acting County Counsel since August, following the retirement of County Counsel Orry Korb. In a press release, Board of Supervisors President Dave Cortese said, “The job of County Counsel is one of the most important in our operation. I am confident that James Williams has the experience and the expertise to serve us well.”
 
 

October 13, 2016

This Week: Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin announces series of major staff changes

Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin announced a series of major staff changes within the Office of the Governoron Monday, October 10, 2016. Chris Benge, who is currently serving as both Secretary of State and Secretary of Native American Affairs, will become Gov. Fallin’s new Chief of Staff. He will replace current Chief of Staff Denise Northrup, who will serve as Chief Operations Officer at the Office of Management and Enterprise Services. Mike Hunter, current First Assistant Attorney General, will succeed Benge as Secretary of State. Jennifer Chance will serve as Gov. Fallin’s new General Counsel.  In a statement announcing the senior staff changes, Gov. Fallin said, “With these changes plus so many new legislators next year and new legislative leadership, Oklahomans can expect a fresh, redoubled effort from my administration and other leaders to serve them successfully.”
 
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan appointed Sam Malhotra to serve as his new Chief of Staff. Malhotra has been serving as Secretary of the Department of Human Resources since the beginning of the Hogan administration in January 2015. He will replace current Chief of Staff Craig A. Williams on October 26, 2016.
 
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has appointed Marie Williams as Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. Williams has served as Deputy Commissioner of the agency since 2011, and was previously Assistant Commissioner for Mental Health Services. Gov. Haslam praised Williams in a press release, saying, “Marie’s passion for helping the mentally ill, the homeless, and those with drug and alcohol addictions inspires her to create the innovative, high-impact programs that make a difference.” Williams will officially take over for retiring Commissioner Doug Varney on October 22, 2016.

Cities and Towns:
New York, NY – Kings County District Attorney Ken Thompson passed away this week, after a battle with cancer. Chief Assistant District Attorney Eric Gonzalez is serving as Acting District Attorney.
 
Houston, TX – The Houston City Council confirmed Lisa Kent as the new Chief Information officer. She replaces Tina Carkhuff who was serving as Interim CIO.  Kent’s previous position was Chief Technology Officer for the Houston Airport System.  In a press release, Mayor Sylvester Turner says, “Lisa is the perfect choice for this position.  She has 26 years of technology experience and is a skilled leader with the ability to change gears quickly and often.  She is also quite familiar with the City’s systems due to her time in the airport systems.”
 
Louisville, KY – Michael Schnuerle was hired as the city’s first Data Officer.  He joins the staff of the Office of Performance Improvement and Innovation, helping departments use city collected data in decision making and promote transparency.  Schnuerle comes to Louisville government from Autodemo, an online video production company.  From a press release, Chief Innovation Officer Grace Simrall says, “As an early proponent of open data, Michael brings a history of civic engagement with Louisville Metro Government. His experience communicating both the challenges and opportunities that data analyses present us as a community will be a valuable asset to all citizens in Louisville Metro.”
 
 
Counties and Authorities:
Anne Arundel Economic Development Corporation – County Executive Steve Schuh appointed Julie Mussog as Chief Executive Officer of the Economic Development Corporation. Mussog, who is currently Anne Arundel County Controller, will start in her new position on November 1, 2016. In a press release, Mussog said, “I am excited to take on this new role in the Schuh Administration. I look forward to working with the County Executive and the private sector as we continue to make Anne Arundel County a place where businesses can flourish.”
 
Howard County, MD – County Sheriff James Fitzgerald will resign following an investigation into his workplace conduct.  Fitzgerald, whose last day in the office is October 15, allegedly used racist, anti-Semitic, and misogynistic language frequently while serving as sheriff, causing County Council Chairperson Calvin Ball to negotiate a deal for his resignation. In a press release, Ball said, “I began engaging in discussions with Mr. Fitzgerald, following the release of the Human Rights report, to discuss the voluntary conciliatory process, as outlined in our Howard County Code.  I spoke with him about the pain of our community and how we needed to turn the page on this chapter of prejudice.”
 
 

October 6, 2016

This Week: Kansas State Bank Commissioner Deryl Schuster announces resignation

Kansas Governor Sam Brownback announced that Deryl Schuster will resign from his position as head of the Office of the State Bank Commissioner at the beginning of November. Schuster has served in this role, which regulated state-chartered banks, since being appointed by Gov. Brownback in March of 2014. In a statement, Schuster said, “I am grateful for the opportunity to work with the wonderful people in the Bank Commissioner office. They are among the finest in the nation.” Current Deputy Bank Commissioner Judi Stork will succeed Schuster once he departs on November 1.
 
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon appointed Harry Bozoian to serve as the Director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. Bozoian will succeed Sara Parker Pauley, who was recently appointed Director of the Missouri Department of Conservation. Bozoian is a Senior Policy Advisor to Gov. Nixon and previously served as Deputy Director and Acting Director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture. In a press release, Gov. Nixon said, “Harry’s breadth of experience and knowledge of environmental issues will make him an excellent Director.” He will begin this new position on October 7.
 
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced he has hired Katie Fischer to serve as his Director of Legislative Affairs. Fischer is currently Director of Legal and Federal Affairs at the Arizona Chamber of Commerce. Fischer will replace Gretchen Martinez, who was recently named Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy and Budget in the Office of the Governor. Gov. Ducey praised his new hire in a statement, saying, “Katie Fischer is a consummate professional, who brings a deep understanding of state policy and a commitment to improving the lives of Arizonans.”
 
Cities and Towns:
Louisville, KY – Michael Schnuerle has been hired as the city’s first Data Officer, effective October 10, 2016.  Schnuerle is a co-founder of the Civic Data Alliance, the Louisville chapter of Code for America.  From a press release, the city’s Chief innovation Officer Grace Simrall says, “As an early proponent of open data, Michael brings a history of civic engagement with Louisville Metro Government. His experience communicating both the challenges and opportunities that data analyses present us as a community will be a valuable asset to all citizens in Louisville Metro.”
 
Alexandria, VA – David Huchler has been appointed Acting Chief of Police in Alexandria.  He replaces Earl Cook, who retired after 37 years with the Police Department.  Chief Huchler is a 25 year veteran of the department, serving as Deputy Chief since 2012.  In a press release, City Manager Mark Jinks says, “Chief Huchler’s 25-year tenure and diversity of experience in local law enforcement make him the right choice to lead the Police Department at this juncture.  I am confident the Police Department is in good hands as we continue the selection process for a permanent chief.”
 
Counties and Authorities:
Horry County, NC – Joseph Hill was sworn in last week as the County’s new Police Chief. Hill Comes to Horry County from Fairfax County, VA, and takes over for Police Chief Saundra Rhodes, who retired in May.
 
Franklin County, OH – Ron Hagan was sworn in last week as Franklin County’s new Treasurer, finishing out the term of Ed Leonard through September 2017. The winner of the general election in November will take over the position and serve a full term.
 
 

September 29, 2016

This Week: New Jersey hired an Acting Commissioner

Dawnna Dukes announced on Monday that she will be retiring from the Texas House of Representativeseffective January 10, 2017. Dukes issued a statement saying her retirement is due to health issues stemming from a 2013 car accident. However, her announcement comes only a few days after the Texas Rangers Division delivered an investigative report on Dukes to the Travis County district attorney’s office. Dukes is under investigation for allegedly forcing her staff to do work unrelated to state government functions. Dukes’ name will remain on the ballot in November’s general election to see who will fill a two-year term representing the heavily-Democratic Austin-area District 46. Should she defeat Republican nominee Gabriel Nila, a special election will be held to determine her replacement.

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie appointed Aaron Fichtner to serve as Acting Commissioner of the state’s Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Fichtner replaces former Commissioner Harold Wirths, who has served in the role since 2010. Fichtner has been Deputy Commissioner of the agency since 2012, and served as Assistant Commissioner of Labor Planning and Analysis before that. In a statement, Fichtner said, “I thank Governor Christie for this new opportunity in his administration and I look forward to continuing our efforts to strengthen the state’s workforce, to build pathways to economic opportunity and to provide critical services to employers and jobseekers.”

On Monday, September 26, Oregon Governor Kate Brown announced the appointment of Margaret Salazar to serve as Director of Oregon Housing and Community Services. Salazar is currently Director of the Portland Field Office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Gov. Brown released a statement saying, “Margaret has extensive leadership and expertise in housing issues, at the local, statewide, and national levels, and I am pleased she will join me in addressing the unprecedented housing challenges Oregonians face.” She will begin her new position with the State of Oregon on November 1, 2016.

 

Cities and Towns:

New York, NY – Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed two new members to the Civilian Complaint Review Board, Frederick Davie and Angela Fernández.  The thirteen members of the board are appointed by the mayor, the city council, and the police commissioner.  In a press release, the mayor says, “Frederick’s years of experience working in social justice and LGBT programs as well as Angela’s tireless work defending immigrant New Yorkers illustrates their commitment to community and their ability to serve New Yorkers as CCRB members. I look forward to working closely with both of them.”

Alexandria, VA – David Huchler has been appointed Acting Police Chief in Alexandria, effective October 2, 2016.  He succeeds Earl Cook, who is retiring.  Huchler is currently a Deputy Chief with the Alexandria Police Department and has been with the department since 1991.  City Manager Mark Jinks says in a press release, “Chief Huchler’s 25-year tenure and diversity of experience in local law enforcement make him the right choice to lead the Police Department at this juncture.  I am confident the Police Department is in good hands as we continue the selection process for a permanent chief.”

 
 
Counties and Authorities:

Bucks County, PA – Matthew Weintraub was sworn in this week as Interim District Attorney, following the retirement of former District Attorney David Heckler. Weintraub will finish out Heckler’s term through December 2017. In a press release, Weintraub said, “I am so excited to lead the incredible staff here at the office.  This is a dream come true for me.”

Prince George’s County, MD – Chief of Staff for Prince George’s County Public Schools George Margolies was forced to resign this week in the wake of federal investigations into his handling of abuse in the County’s Head Start Program. Margolies had also previously held positions in the school systems of Anne Arundel and Montgomery Counties. 

 
 

 September 22, 2016

This Week: New leadership at NYPD 

Iowa State Senator Joe Seng passed away on September 16, 2016. Seng, a Democrat representing eastern Iowa’s District 45, had been battling cancer for the last two years. Republican Governor Terry Branstad issued a statementreading, “Joe was a true statesman that put party aside to work for the common good.” A special election to determine who will serve the remaining two years of Seng’s term in the Iowa Senate will be held on December 27, 2016.

Florida Governor Rick Scott announced that Liz Dudek will retire from her role as Secretary of the Agency for Healthcare Administration next month, ending a career in the state government that lasted over four decades. Dudek has served as Secretary of AHCA since 2011, and her final day will be October 3. Justin Senior, current Deputy Secretary of the Division of Medicaid, will replace Dudek as Interim Secretary. Governor Scott praised Dudek for her service, saying, “Under her leadership, we have worked to make hospitals more transparent and accomplished historic Medicaid reform.”

New Hampshire Governor Maggie Hassan nominated Captain Christopher Wagner to serve as the next Director of the New Hampshire State Police. Wagner has been a law enforcement officer for two decades, and currently serves as Support Services Bureau Commander for the State Police. If confirmed by the Executive Council, Wagner will replace Robert L. Quinn, who was recently appointed to serve as Assistant Commissioner of the Department of Public Safety, which oversees the State Police.

 
Cities and Towns:

Sunnyvale, CA - Larry Klein was sworn as the newest member of the Sunnyvale City Council.  The Seat 4 Council Member won an August 16 special election to fill the vacancy created when David Whittum resigned in April.  It may be a short term on the Council for Klein.  He will need to run again in the November general election to keep the seat for a full term.  Klein is quoted, “I will strive to be a positive member of the team on council, and I hope to make you proud.”

New York, NY – Two leaders in the New York Police Department were sworn in this week.  On September 19, James O’Neill was sworn in as Police Commissioner and Carlos Gomez was sworn in as Chief of Department.  O’Neill replaces William Bratton who had served as Commissioner since 2014.  Gomez replaces Commissioner O’Neill, who had served as Chief of Department since 2014.  During the swearing in ceremony, Mayor Bill de Blasio praises O’Neill, “His outstanding work over these last days has shown the world what so many people in this room already know: Jimmy is more than ready to lead the finest police department in the world. He’s been preparing for this opportunity for more than three decades. In the time honored way, our new Commissioner has worked his way up the ranks one wrung at a time, earning the respect of his fellow officers with every step.”
 
 
Counties and Authorities:

DeKalb County, GA – Interim County Chief Executive Officer Lee May has appointed Dianne McNabb as Interim Chief Financial Officer for the county, filling the vacancy until the end of 2016. In a press release, May said, “Ms. McNabb brings with here a wealth of experience in the public finance arena… Her stellar career has given her a unique familiarity with DeKalb County not only as a resident but working as an auditor with KPMG and subsequently as our financial advisor.”

Fairfax County, VA – County Superintendent of Schools Karen Garza is stepping down after three years to take a position at the nonprofit Battelle for Kids. Garza, who will be leaving her current role in December, said in an open letter that, “I am so grateful for the opportunity to have served this world class school system since June 2013. It has been an honor and privilege to have worked with the dedicated and professional staff who make FCPS the finest school system in the country.”

 
 
 

September 15, 2016

This Week: Delaware and New Hampshire hold gubernatorial primaries 

Delaware and New Hampshire became the final two states to host a gubernatorial primary on Tuesday, September 13. Delaware State Treasurer Colin Bonini claimed nearly 70 percent of the vote to defeat retired state trooper Lacey Lafferty in the Republican race. Bonini will face U.S. Representative John Carney, who ran unopposed in the Democratic primary. Carney is heavily favored to win and continue a 24-year streak of Democratic rule in the State House. Chris Sununu narrowly won the Republican nomination for Governor in New Hampshire, besting State Representative Frank Edelblut by fewer than 1,000 votes. Sununu will face Democrat Colin Van Ostern, who serves alongside him on the state’s Executive Council, in the general election.
 
Police in Rochester, New York, confirmed the death of New York State Assembly Member Bill Nojay on Friday, September 9. An officer responding to a report of a man in distress at Riverside Cemetery witnessed Nojay die of a  self-inflicted gunshot wound. Nojay was scheduled to appear in federal court later that day to face fraud charges. U.S. Representative Tom Reed issued a statement on Nojay’s death reading, “We will remember him for his dedication and commitment to public service and our community.” Nojay, a Republican, was first elected to the New York State Assembly in 2012 and he hosted a regionally syndicated conservative talk radio show. Despite his death, Nojay won an overwhelming victory in Tuesday’s Republican primary election for the District 133 seat. Local Republican officials chose former Assembly Member Joe Errigo to take Nojay’s place in November’s general election.
 
Members of the Tennessee House of Representatives voted on Tuesday to expel Jeremy Durham from the chamber following allegations sexual misconduct. A report from the state’s attorney general’s office alleges Durham engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct with 22 women and had sex with a legislative employee in his office. The House voted 70-2 to remove Durham, making him the first person in 36 years to be expelled from the state legislature.
 
 
Cities and Towns:
Baltimore, MD – Baltimore’s Inspector General, Robert H. Pearre, resigned this week, citing personal and family issues.  A former FBI agent, Pearre had served as Inspector General since 2013.  The Mayor will appoint his successor in the coming weeks.
 
Providence, RI – Evan England, Mayor Jorge Elorza’s Communications Director, has resigned for a position as Communications Director for the State of Rhode Island’s Office of the General Treasurer.  England had served in the Mayor’s office since 2015.  Emily Crowell replaces England as acting Communications Director.
 
 
 
Counties and Authorities:
Chesterfield County, VA – Scott Zaremba was named Deputy County Administrator for Management Services, effective October 1, 2016. Zaremba is currently Director of Human Resources Management for the County. In a press release, Zaremba said, “I have a passion for public service, and I truly appreciate the opportunity to continue serving the county in a new and expanded role.”
 
Boulder County, CO – Eric Lane is the new head of Boulder County’s Parks and Open Space Department. Lane takes over for Director Ron Stewart, who retired earlier this month. In a press release,
 County Commissioner Deb Gardner said, “Eric’s professional experience includes working with a wide variety of interest groups to assess and promote the adoption of scientifically sound conservation practices, and we believe his blend of experience and pragmatism will serve the county well as we transition to a new era of open space management.” 
 
Anne Arundel County Economic Development Corporation – Chief Executive Officer Robert Hannon resigned last week after being arrested for breaking and entering. In a press release, County Executive Steve Schuh announced that County Chief Administrative officer Mark Hartzell will serve as Acting CEO until a permanent replacement can be found.
 
 
 

September 8, 2016

This Week: FL AG Pam Bondi facing pay-to-play allegations over donations from Donald Trump in 2013 

Donald Trump faced allegations this week that his foundation donated $25,000 to Florida Attorney GeneralPamela Bondi in 2013 to persuade her not to join an investigation into Trump University. On September 14, 2013, a spokesperson in Bondi’s office announced that the Attorney General was considering joining a New York state inquiry of Trump University following a series of complaints from enrollees. Three days later, the Trump Foundation sent $25,000 to a super PAC associated with Bondi’s reelection campaign, and Bondi’s office later decided not to pursue the investigation. The donation from the Trump Foundation was in violation of Internal Revenue Service rules, and Donald Trump has since paid a $2,500 fine. A report from Huffington Post published on September 6, 2016, detailed how Donald Trump opened up his pricey Mar-a-Lago resort in March 2014 to host a fundraiser for Bondi’s campaign, presenting the appearance he was thanking Bondi for her decision.
 
South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard announced that Jim Seward would be leaving his position as General Counsel in the Office of the Governor at the end of October to join the private sector. Seward has been General Counsel since Gov. Daugaard was inaugurated in 2011 and is also a Member of the Governor’s Executive Committee. Before joining the Governor’s office, he served a tour of duty in Afghanistan and was a states’ attorney in Butte County.  In a statement announcing the move, Gov. Daugaard called Seward, “a policy advisor, policy maker and policy implementer.”
 
Linda Wedeen was named the Interim Director of the New Mexico Health Insurance Exchange, also known as beWellnm. Wedeen replaces Amy Dowd, who announced she was leaving the Exchange last month. Wedeen has served in the Exchange as Senior Director of Communications, Marketing and Outreach. In a blog post announcing the appointment, Chairman of the Board of Directors Dr. J.R. Damron said, “Linda’s leadership experience, both with the Exchange and in her prior roles, gave us the confidence we needed to ask her to lead beWellnm.” The Board of Directors has appointed an Executive Search Committee to find a permanent Chief Executive Officer. 
 
Cities and Towns:
Pittsburgh, PA – The Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority Board approved the appointment of Bernard Lindstrom as Interim Executive Director.  He replaces David Donahoe, who was appointed to a six month term ending in August.  Lindstrom formerly served with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers as Commander and District Engineer in Pittsburgh. From a press release, Lindstrom says, “As a native of Western Pennsylvania and because of my recent work, I am fully aware of the value our local waterways bring to the region and the importance of the region’s water and sewer providers to the public. I look forward to joining a team of experts that provide water and wastewater services that meet or exceed all regulations and customer expectations at the lowest possible cost."
 
Dallas, TX – Police Chief David Brown announced his retirement from the Police Department, effective October 22, 2016.  He has served as Chief since 2010.  David Pughes has been appointed Interim Police Chief, following Brown’s retirement.   Pughes currently serves as Executive Assistant Chief with the Dallas Police Department.  From a press release, Dallas City Manager A.C. Gonzalez remarks on Chief Brown’s departure, “During his tenure, he set the bar for transparency, community policing and involving our youth. He worked hard on creating a diverse police force and brought us some of the lowest crime rates since the 1930s. He implemented body cameras for 1,000 officers and reduced the use of deadly force by a record number.”
 
Counties and Authorities:
Pulaski County, AR – Tab Townsell will be the next Executive Director of Metroplan. In a press release, the Board of Directors announced that Townsell will take over the role at the end of the year, when his term as Mayor of Conway, AR expires and current Executive Director Jim McKenzie retires.
 
Port Authority of New York and New Jersey – Michael Farbiarz has joined the Port Authority as General Counsel. Farbiarz takes over for Richard J. Holwell, who has been serving as Interim General Counsel since November 2015. In a press release, Port Authority Board Chairman John Degnan said, “We are extremely pleased a person of Michael’s high caliber, record of legal accomplishment and distinguished public service career is joining the Port Authority as an integral part of the leadership team.”
Judicial
 
 
 

September 1, 2016

This Week: AR Gov. Asa Hutchinson appoints Bill Gossage as Deputy Chief of Staff 

On Tuesday, August 30, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson announced the appointment of State Representative Bill Gossage as his new Deputy Chief of Staff for External Operations. Gossage will work alongside Ateca Williams, who was hired as Deputy Chief of Staff for Internal Operations in July. The Deputy Chief of Staff position was split into two separate positions after Jon Gilmore left the role in June of this year. Gossage was first elected to the Arkansas House of Representatives in 2012. In a statement, Gossage said, “I am honored to have the opportunity to work for Governor Hutchinson as he continues to move Arkansas forward with more high paying jobs, less taxes, and greater opportunities for all Arkansans.” Hutchinson also appointed Katie Beck to serve Director of State-Federal Relations in the state’s Washington, D.C. office. Alisha Curtis will take Beck’s former position as Executive Assistant to the Governor.
 
Nico Gomez announced that he will be resigning from his role as Chief Executive Officer at the Oklahoma Health Care Authority on September 30. Gomez has led the agency, which is tasked with controlling costs of state-purchased health care, since January 2013. Governor Mary Fallin praised Gomez in a press release, calling him “an inspirational leader who strived to make a positive difference for many of our most vulnerable Oklahomans by working to improve their health outcomes.”
 
Kevin Talbert is the newest member of the Oregon State Senate,representing District 3. Talbert, a retired administrator at Southern Oregon University, was selected by the Jackson County Board of Commissioners from a group of three names put forward by local Democratic party officials. He will replace Alan Bates, who died in early August at the age of 71. Talbert will serve until January 2017, at which point he will be replaced by the winner of this November’s general election between Democrat Tonia Moro and Republican Alan DeBoer.
 
Cities and Towns:
Alexandria, VA – Vanetta Pledger has been hired as the city’s Chief Information Officer and Director of Information Technology Services, effective September 12, 2016.  Pledger started her career with the City of Alexandria in 1999 in the Information Technology Services Department, and also held IT positions with Orange County, VA, and the City of Bowie, MD.  She replaces Laura Triggs who has been serving as Acting CIO.  In a press release, City Manager Mark Jinks says, “I am very pleased to welcome Vanetta back to Alexandria.  Her broad experience and proven results, combined with her extensive knowledge of local government, make her a strong choice to lead the City’s technology programs.”
 
Louisville, KY – Mayor Greg Fischer has appointed Grace Simrall as the city’s Chief of Civic Innovation.  She replaces Ted Smith, who left to accept a position as CEO of Revon Systems, a health technology company.  Simrall previously served as Executive Director of Intel Care Innovations.  From a press release, Simrall says, “It's an honor to have the opportunity to serve the community.  I look forward to continuing the work of my predecessor, Ted Smith, and welcome new collaborations across all channels."
 
 
Counties and Authorities:
Fairfax County, VA – Fairfax County Police Chief Edwin Roessler hired Julie Parker to head the department’s Public Affairs Bureau last week. Parker has previously worked as a reporter for several local news stations and as a lecturer at the FBI Academy at Quantico, VA.
 
Volusia County, TN – Incumbent Sheriff Ben Johnson lost his reelection bid this week when challenger Michael Chitwood won the seat outright with a 51% majority in this week’s Florida Primary Elections. Chitwood’s first four year term will start in January 2017.

 

August 25, 2016

This Week: PA Gov. Tom Wolf nominates Bruce Beemer to be Attorney General 

On Thursday, August 18, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf nominated state Inspector General Bruce Beemer to serve as Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The nomination came one day after Kathleen Kane resigned from the Attorney General seat following her conviction for perjury and other crimes. Beemer served as First Deputy Attorney General under Kane before he was appointed to the Inspector General position in July 2016. In a press release announcing the nomination, Gov. Wolf wrote, “Bruce earned a reputation across the commonwealth as a tough prosecutor, effective administrator and thoughtful legal mind.” If confirmed by the Pennsylvania Senate, Beemer will serve as Attorney General until the winner of this November’s general election is sworn in next January. Bruce Castor Jr. is currently Acting Attorney General.
 
District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser appointed Peter Newsham to serve as Interim Police Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department. Newsham is currently Assistant Chief in charge of the Investigative Services Bureau. Mayor Bowser praised Newsham in a statement, saying, “He is experience, smart, compassionate, and most importantly, he knows what it means to walk a beat, to manage a team, and to serve the resident of the District of Columbia.” Newsham will replace current Chief Cathy Lanier when she leaves the force on September 17 to take a position with the National Football League.
 
Cities and Towns:
Seattle, WA – Mayor Ed Murray hired George Scarola as the city’s first Director of Homelessness. This new position in Murray’s cabinet provides oversight for homeless efforts across departments. From a press release, Mayor Murray says, “We have made unprecedented investments in homelessness prevention and services. Because of the growing scope of work around homelessness, Seattle needs a proven manager to ensure we are achieving our desired outcomes. I have known George for many years, working alongside him in Seattle and Olympia, and know him as a unifying leader that excels at creating successful results through community engagement.”
 
Denver, CO – Mayor Michael Hancock has announced that Janice Sinden, his Chief of Staff for the last five years, will be stepping down on September 9, 2016. She is leaving for a position of President and CEO of the Denver Center for the Performing Arts. From a press release, Mayor Hancock says, “Janice has been an outstanding Chief of Staff, a superb advisor and steadfast friend these past five years. So much of what we’ve been able to accomplish is because she was in the lead making sure we could get across the finish line. While I’m sad to see her leave, she has served this city without fail and with unparalleled professionalism.”
 
Counties and Authorities:
Multnomah County, OR – Mike Reese was sworn in as County Sheriff last week, taking over for retiring Sheriff Dan Stanton. Reese, who will serve until a replacement can be elected to finish out Stanton’s term in November, most recently served as Chief of the Portland Police Bureau. In a press release, Reese said, “As your Sheriff, I will do my very best to lead this agency through difficult challenges ahead and to provide exceptional service to the citizens of Multnomah County.”
 
Guilford County, NC – Sharon Contreras was sworn in as Superintendent of Guilford County Schools, just in time for the start of the 2016-2017 school year. Last year, Contreras served as Superintendent for the Syracuse City School District. In a press release, Contreras said, “I want to get to know the hopes and dreams of this community, because I know the enormous responsibility I have to educate its children.”

 

August 11, 2016

This Week: Roger Millar appointed Washington Secretary of Transportation 

Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced the appointment of Roger Millar to serve as Secretary of the Washington State Department of Transportation, effective immediately. Millar had been serving as Deputy Secretary of the agency since last October and as Acting Secretary since February. In a press release, Gov. Inslee called Millar “a well-respected leader with an impressive ability to bring people together and find sensible solutions to difficult problems.” Millar’s appointment received bipartisan praise, with both Republican State Senator Curtis King and Democratic State Representative Judy Clibborn endorsing the selection. In February, Senate Republicans voted against confirming Lynn Peterson, Inslee’s previously choice for WSDOT head, based on frustrations with I-405 tolls and delays in the Highway 99 Tunnel construction project.
 
Vincent Orange announced he will resign from his At Large seat on the Council of the District of Columbia, reversing an earlier decision to continue serving while also having a private sector position at the D.C. Chamber of Commerce. Orange was defeated in the June Democratic Primary election by attorney Robert White, and on July 28, he tweeted that he had been named as head of the D.C. Chamber of Commerce. Orange had said he would remain serving as a Council Member until his term expired on January 2, 2017, but his colleagues on the Council said this decision presented a conflict of interest. In the wake of criticism, Orange announced in a tweet that he will transition out of the Council on August 15 and his staff will remain employed until January 2. The D.C. Democratic State Committee will choose a successor to fill the remaining four-and-a-half months of Orange’s term.
 
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts issued a statement on Friday, August 5, demanding the immediate resignation of State Senator Bill Kintner after he was fined $1,000 for misuse of public resources. Kintner was found guilty by the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission of using his state-issued computer to engage in cybersex. Kintner reported to the Nebraska State Patrol in mid-2015 that he was the victim of an extortion scam, saying a woman he met online was threatening to share an explicit video of him if he didn’t wire her money. Governor Ricketts’ statement on the matter was short and to the point: “In light of the Nebraska Accountability and Disclosure Commission’s decision, Senator Kintner should resign his office immediately. Period.”

Cities and Towns:
Fairfax, VA – Mayor R. Scott Silverthorne resigned as Mayor on August 11, 2016.  He was arrested last week on charges of trading drugs for sex.  City Council Member Jeffrey Greenfield is serving as Acting Mayor.  According to a press release, the City Council will meet to set a date for a special election to fill this seat and “discuss the possible appointment of an interim mayor.”
 
Brockton, MA – Robert Buckley, Mayor Bill Carpenter’s Chief of Staff will resign on August 31, 2016.  He has served as Chief of Staff since the beginning of Carpenter’s administration in January 2014.  He will be replaced by Darren Duarte, a former Public Affairs Director with the Massachusetts department of Correction for the past two years.
 
Counties and Authorities:
Frederick County, MD – County Executive Jan Gardner appointed longtime county employee Dr. Monica Grant as the Director of the Citizens Services Division. Grant, who has been director of the Developmental Center within the County Health Department since 2004, started in her new role on August 8, 2016. “I am confident that Monica will be an excellent leader over the many departments and public services offered in our Citizens Services Division,” County Executive Gardner said in a press release. “Her management and budgetary skills are an excellent match for this important position.”

 

August 5, 2016

This Week: Eric Greitens wins Republican gubernatorial nomination in Missouri 

In Missouri’s primary election, held on Tuesday, August 2, Eric Greitens won the Republican gubernatorial nomination, while Chris Koster captured the Democratic nod. Greitens, a former Navy Seal and Rhodes Scholar, took in 34.6 percent of the votes cast in the four person race. Businessman John Brunner came in second place with 24.8 percent of the vote, followed by Lieutenant Governor Peter Kinder and Speaker of the House Catherine Hanaway. Attorney General Chris Koster cruised to victory against little competition in the Democratic race. Both Greitens and Koster have both switched parties within the last decade: Greitens considered running for U.S. Congress as a Democrat in 2010, and Koster served as a Republican member of the Missouri Senate until changing his party affiliation in 2007. The race is shaping up to be one of the most closely-followed and costly of the 2016 election cycle. Within hours of Greitens’ win, the Missouri Democratic Party issued a statement accusing the Greitens campaign of colluding with super PACs, writing, “The only office Eric Greitens is qualified for is Hypocrite in Chief.” The candidates are running to replace outgoing Democratic Governor Jay Nixon.
 
Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts appointed Dr. Thomas L. Williams to serve as Chief Medical Officer at the state’s Department of Health and Human Services. In this role, Williams will also serve as Director of the Division of Public Health. Williams is currently Laboratory Medical Director and Chair of the Department of Pathology at Methodist Hospital in Omaha. He starts his new position on November 1. In a statement issued by the Governor’s office, DHHS CEO Courtney Phillips praised Williams, saying, “His insight and expertise will be a valuable asset to the agency and our work to help people live better lives.”
 
Donna Hutto Edwards, the First Lady of Louisiana, has launched two social media pages to connect with citizens of the Bayou State. Edwards set up a Facebook account and a Twitter account. In one of her first tweets, Edwards wrote, “John Bel says there’s no way I can get as many followers as he has on @LouisianaGov. Challenge accepted! –D #lagov”. As of press time, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards has approximately 12,300 followers to Donna Edwards’ 756.

Cities and Towns:
New York, NY – Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed James O’Neill as the next Police Commissioner, effective September 2016.  O’Neill replaces Bill Bratton, who has been serving as Commissioner since January 2014.  Commissioner O’Neill currently serves as Chef of Department, a position he has held since 2014.  O’Neill has announced that current Chief of Patrol Carlos Gomez will replace him as Chief of Department.  Mayor de Blasio was quoted in a press release saying, “As the architect of our neighborhood policing program, Jimmy O’Neill has built a national model for bringing police and the community together to fight crime. As the top-ranking uniformed member of the NYPD, Jimmy has spent each day ensuring that New York City remains the safest big city in America.”
 
Fort Wayne, IN – Steve Reed was sworn in as the new Police Chief in Fort Wayne this week.  He replaces Garry Hamilton, who will remain on the department’s command staff serving as Deputy Chief of the Community Relations Unit.  Reed is a 23 year veteran of Fort Wayne’s Police Department.  In a press release, Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry says, “Steve is a true professional and a man of integrity who is ready for this leadership position. His communication skills and a commitment to the safety and well-being of everyone in our City are clear indications he is the right person to lead the Fort Wayne Police Department.”
 
 
Counties and Authorities:
Los Angeles County, CA – Los Angeles Department of Water and Power General Manager Marcie Edwards announced this week that she will retire on August 16, 2016. Edwards, who will stay on through the end of 2016 as special advisor, will be replaced on an Interim basis by current Chief Operating Officer David Wright.   Mayor Eric Garcetti was quoted in a press release on the staff changes stating, “When I took office, LADWP was facing difficult challenges -- we needed a visionary leader to put our utility back on track, and that’s exactly what Marcie Edwards has done.  She has left an indelible mark on our city, and I am deeply grateful for her service.”
 
Atlantic County, NJ – First Assistant Prosecutor Diane Ruberton was sworn in this week as Acting Prosecutor for Atlantic County. Ruberton succeeds Jim McClain, who resigned last week to take the position of State Superior Court Judge. A permanent appointment to fill the position of Prosecutor must be made by the Governor and approved by the State Legislature.  Following her swearing in, Ruberton was quoted in a press release, “I am honored to serve the Atlantic County community as Acting Prosecutor. This office has a reputation as being leaders in the law enforcement community and at the forefront in developing law enforcement and community partnerships.” 

 

July 28, 2016

This Week: Indiana Republican State Committee picks Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb as nominee for governor 

Following Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s appointment as Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s running mate, the Indiana Republican State Committee voted on Tuesday to name Eric Holcomb as the party’s new nominee in November’s gubernatorial election. The 22 voting members of the committee chose Holcomb, currently the state’s Lieutenant Governor, over U.S. Representatives Susan W. Brooks and Todd Rokita, as well as State Senator Jim Tomes. Holcomb served as Chairman of the Indiana Republican Partyfrom 2011 to 2013 and as Chief of Staff in the Indianapolis Office of U.S. Senator Dan Coats from 2013 to 2015 before launching a campaign for the U.S. Senate. He dropped his campaign when Governor Mike Pence selected him to replace Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann, who resigned in March. Holcomb was Pence’s running mate in his reelection effort until Pence ended his campaign on July 15. Within the last six months, Holcomb has been a candidate for three separate offices: U.S. Senator; Lieutenant Governor of Indiana; and now Governor of Indiana.
 
Anne Holton, the wife of U.S Senator and Democratic Vice Presidential candidate Tim Kaine, resigned from her position as Virginia’s Secretary of Education on Tuesday, July 25. Holton will now be working for the Hillary for America campaign as an Advisor. Governor Terry McAuliffe thanked Holton for her two-year tenure as head of Virginia’s Education Secretariat, calling her a “tireless advocate on behalf of the students of the Commonwealth.” Deputy Secretary of Education Dr. Dietra Trent has been promoted to replace Holton.
 
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan is losing his top spokesperson. Matthew Clark, who has served as Communications Director since Hogan’s inauguration in January 2015, is leaving the administration to work at Washington-based communication firm FTI Consulting. Deputy Communications Director Douglass Mayer was named as Clark’s replacement. Mayer previously worked as Communications Director in the Office of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. Mayer will take over on August 16.

Cities and Towns:
Houston, TX – TheHouston Independent School District named Richard Carranza as the sole finalist for the position of Superintendent.  By law, the board must wait 21 days before a final vote to hire Carranza.  He would replace Kenneth Huewitt, who has been serving as Interim Superintendent since February 2016, when former Superintendent Terry Grier resigned.  Carranza is currently Superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District, a position he has held since 2012.  The San Francisco School Board has announced that Myong Leigh will serve as Interim Superintendent, following Carranza’s resignation.
 
Providence, RI – Mayor Jorge Elorza appointed Nicole Pollock as his new Chief of Staff, effective September 1, 2016.  She replaces Tony Simon, who has been Elorza’s chief of staff since 2015.  Pollock is currently Chief Policy and Innovation Officer for Mayor Elorza.
 
Counties and Authorities:
Cobb County, GA – Incumbent Chairman of the Board of County Commissioners Tim Lee lost to challenger Mike Boyce in this week’s runoff election. Boyce’s four year term as Chairman of the Board of Commissioners begins on January 1, 2017.
 
Broward County, FL – Joseph Fernandez was sworn in as Chief of the Department of Fire Rescue and Emergency Services in Broward County, FL. Fernandez takes over for former chief Anthony Stravino, who will serve as Fire Chief for Polk County, FL, in September.
 

 

July 22, 2016

This Week: Donald Trump's VP pick shakes up Indiana governor's race 

Republican president nominee Donald Trump’s selection of Indiana Governor Mike Pence to serve as his running mate set off a domino effect through Indiana politics and a wild scene at the Indiana Office of the Secretary of State. Pence had to formally submit his withdrawal from the Indiana gubernatorial election to the Secretary of State’s office by noon on Friday, July 15, just one hour after the Trump campaign officially announced their vice presidential selection. Since Pence had already won the Republican nomination for Governor in May’s primary election, the Indiana Republican State Committee must choose a replacement nominee within thirty days. State law prohibits candidates from running for multiple races, so any candidate seeking the Republican nomination was forced to withdraw from other races. Eric Holcomb withdrew from his candidacy for Lieutenant Governor, and U.S. Representatives Susan W. Brooks and Todd Rokita both withdrew from their congressional reelection campaigns. Representatives for Pence, Holcomb, Brooks, and Rokita all descended upon Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson’s office to submit the appropriate paperwork before the noon deadline. The state Republican party has scheduled a July 26 caucus to select a nominee to face Democrat John Gregg in the November general election. Should either Brooks or Rokita not be selected, they still can ask to be nominated to their congressional races by local party officials.
 
Two governors have appointed a new Chief of Staff. Delaware Governor Jack Markell announced that Drew Fennell will be promoted from his current position of Deputy Chief of Staff. Fennell is replacing Mike Barlow, who is leaving on July 22 to take a position at law firm Abrams & Bayliss. Fennell will serve for the remainder of Markell’s term, which expires in January. Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo announced that Brett Smiley will begin serving as her Chief of Staff beginning in September. Smiley is currently Chief Operating Officer in the Office of Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza. Smiley is replacing Acting Chief of Staff David Cruise, who has been serving in that position since Stephen Neuman left the Raimondo administration to work on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Cities and Towns:
Columbus, OH – Mayor Andrew Ginther has appointed Ned Pettus as Director of Public Safety for the City, effective August 1, 2016.  He replaces George Speaks, who will continue with the Department, serving as Deputy Director. Pettus is a 30 year veteran of Columbus’ Fire department, most recently serving as Chief from 2002-2012.
 
Gilbert, AZ – The Town Council appointed Jenn Daniels as the new Mayor of Gilbert.  She replaces John Lewis, who resigned this week.  Mayor Daniels served on the Town Council from  2009-2016.  Daniels is uncontested in the August primary for a full four-year term as Mayor of Gilbert, starting January 2017.
 
Clovis, CA – John Binaski was sworn in as Fire Chief on July 18, 2016.  He replaces Michael Despain, who resigned and is now serving as Fire Chief in Lincoln, NE.  Binaski previously served as Deputy Fire Chief in Clovis since 2013.
 
Counties and Authorities:
Philadelphia Regional Port Authority – The Board of Directors announced this week that Jeff Theobald will be the Port’s next Chief Executive Officer. Theobald, who will start in his new position in August, takes over for previous CEO James T. McDermott Jr., who retired in April of this year.
 

 

July 14, 2016

This Week: Christopher Quinn elected to Pennsylvania House of Representatives 

Christopher B. Quinn was elected to the Pennsylvania House of Representatives on Tuesday, June 12. Quinn, a Republican member of the Middletown Township Council, won 58.45 percent of the votes cast to defeat Democratic nominee Diane Cornman-Levy. Quinn will represent District 168 in the House, which is located in the Philadelphia suburbs of Delaware County. He will replace Tom Killion, who resigned in April after being elected to the Pennsylvania Senate.
 
Two members of the New Hampshire House of Representatives have passed away over the last month following battles with cancer. Debbie DiFranco, a Democrat elected to represent Portsmouth in 2014, died on Monday, July 11. In a statement, Governor Maggie Hassan praised DiFranco for “embodying the hard work and unyielding commitment that represent our citizen-led democracy. Republican Shem Kellogg succumbed to cancer on June 21. Kellogg, a 34-year-old engineer from Plaistow, was elected to represent the Rockingham-14 district in November 2014. He served on the Fish, Game and Marine Resources committee.
 
Following the departure of his Deputy Chief of Staff, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson has split the job into two separate positions. Gov. Hutchinson has named Ateca Williams to serve as Deputy Chief of Staff for Internal Operations, effective July 18. Williams currently serves as Director of Constituent Services in the Office of the Governor. Gov. Hutchinson will name a Deputy Chief of Staff for External Affairs at a later date. Former Deputy Chief of Staff Jon Gilmore left the administration in June to take a job in the private sector.

Cities and Towns:
Danville, VA – The City Council of Danville held their reorganizing meeting and elected John Gilstrap to serve as Mayor for the 2016 session.  He replaces Sherman Saunders, who remains on the City Council.
 
Houston, TX – Mayor Sylvester Turner has appointed Tom McCasland as Interim Director of the Department of Housing and Community Development.  He replaces Neal Rackleff who resigned in June.  McCasland previously served as Chief Executive Officer of the Housing Authority in Harris County, TX.  He also launched an unsuccessful bid for an At Large Seat on the Houston City Council in 2015.  Also in Houston, Jane Cheeks was confirmed as the Director of the Department of Human Resources.  She had been serving as the department’s Interim Director.
 
Athens, GA – Jestin Johnson was appointed Assistant City Manager in Athens.  He previously served as City Manager in Bisbee, AZ, and started his career as a Policy Analyst in Georgia’s Office of Planning and Budget.
 
Burlington, VT – Rubi Simon has resigned as Director of Burlington’s Fletcher Free Library, effective August 26, 2016.  She has served as director since 2012.  The Mayor’s office is assembling a committee to choose the next Library Director.
 
Counties and Authorities:
Cook County, IL – Interim Chief Medical Examiner Dr. Ponni Arunkumar was appointed to her position permanently. Dr. Arunkumar had been serving as Interim Chief Medical Examiner since previous Medical Examiner Dr. Stephen Cina resigned in June 2016.
 
San Mateo County, CA – County Sheriff Greg Munks resigned this week, citing health reasons. Undersheriff Carlos Bolanos was appointed Acting Sheriff. He subsequently promoted Assistant Sheriff Trisha Sanchez to fill the position of Undersheriff. Sanchez begins her new role on July 17, 2016.
 

July 1, 2016

This Week: Kaya Henderson resigns as Chancellor of District of Columbia Public Schools 

On June 29, 2016, Kaya Henderson announced she would be leaving her position as Chancellor of District of Columbia Public Schools. Henderson joined DCPS in 2007 as a Deputy Chancellor working under controversial educational reform proponent Michelle Rhee, and was appointed to lead the agency in March 2011 by newly elected Mayor Vincent GrayHenderson will be stepping down as Chancellor on September 30, 2016. District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser announced that current Chief of Schools John Davis will serve as Interim Chancellor until a nationwide search for Henderson’s replacement is completed. The District of Columbia Public Schools system had an enrollment of nearly 49,000 students during the most recent school year.
 
Alaska Attorney General Craig Richards abruptly resigned from office on Thursday, June 23, 2016. A press release from Governor Bill Walker’s office announcing the staff change said Richards was “stepping down to focus on his family.”  Richards had been serving as Attorney General since Gov. Walker inauguration on December 1, 2014. Five days after Richards resignation, Gov. Walker announced the appointment of attorney Jahna Lindemuth as the new Attorney General. Lindemuth, who is currently a Partner at law firm Dorsey & Whitney LLP’s Anchorage office, will begin work at the Office of the Attorney General in early August. Deputy Attorney General James Cantor is serving as Acting Attorney General until Lindemuth starts.
 
Utah Governor Gary Herbert won his state’s Republican primary election by a huge margin on Tuesday, June 28. Herbert took in over 72 percent of the votes cast to beat Libertarian challenger Jonathan Johnson, the Chairman of Overstock.com. The results came as a relief to the Herbert campaign after Johnson won a majority of votes at the state party convention in April. In that contest, Johnson claimed 55 percent of the votes cast by the roughly 4,000 delegates in attendance, but failed to reach the 60 percent threshold necessary to clinch the nomination outright. Governor Herbert and Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox will face Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mike Weinholtz and his running mate Kim Bowman in November’s general election.

Cities and Towns:
Portland, OR – Portland Police Chief Larry O’Dea resigned this week, following news that he accidentally shot a friend during a hunting trip and did not reveal all the facts about the incident.  Mayor Charlie Hales appointed Captain Mike Marshman as Chief of Police, while the city searches for a permanent replacement.
 
St. Paul, MN – Mayor Chris Coleman appointed Todd Axtell as the new Chief of Police in St. Paul.  He replaces Tom Smith, who retired in May.  Axtell joined the Police Department in 1994, most recently overseeing the Operations Bureau.
 
Counties and Authorities:
Mercer County, NJ – Mercer County Park Commission Superintendent Kevin Bannon was fired this week at a Park Commission meeting.  He had been on paid leave since April, following a raid by the Attorney General on the Commission office.  Deputy County Administrator Aaron Watson is serving as Interim Executive Director of the Park Commission.
 
St. John the Baptist Parish, LA – Parish Council Member Buddy Boe resigned from his position to take a role as Communications Director for Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. Raj Pannu, a local business owner, will take over the position on an interim basis until a replacement can be elected on November 8, 2016. The winner of that election will serve until the end of 2020. 
 

June 23, 2016

This Week: Chris Christie nominates Christopher Porrino to be Attorney General 

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has nominated his former Chief Counsel Christopher Porrino to serve as the state’s next Attorney General. Porrino was Vice Chair of the Litigation Department at Lowenstein Sandler from 2004 to 2012. He left to join the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety in 2012 as Director of the Division of Law, and was named Governor Christie’s Chief Counsel in 2014. He returned to Lowenstein Sandler in 2015. If Porrino’s nomination is confirmed by the New Jersey Senate, he will replace Acting Attorney General Robert Lougy.
 
West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin has named Chris Stadelman as his new Chief of Staff, effective Friday, June 24. Stadelman has served as Communications Director in the Office of the Governor since May 2014, and served as Managing Editor of the Charleston Daily Mail newspaper from 1999 to 2004. He will replace outgoing Chief of Staff Charlie Lorensen, who is returning to the private sector after holding the position since April 2013.

Kitty Rhoades, the Secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Health Services, died on Saturday, June 18, following a short battle with pneumonia. Rhoades was appointed Secretary of the Department by Governor Scott Walker in 2013 after serving two years as the Department’s Deputy Secretary. She previously served as a Republican member of the Wisconsin State Assembly from 1999 to 2010. Governor Walker appointed Deputy Secretary Tom Engels to serve as Interim Secretary of the Department.

Cities and Towns:
Oakland, CA – Mayor Libby Schaaf announced that command staff for the Oakland Police Department will report directly to City Administrator Sabrina Landreth.  The decision follows the announcement that Acting Chief of Police Paul Figueroa would be taking a leave of absence.  Mayor Schaff had appointed Figueroa to replace Police Chief Sean Whent, who resigned on June 9. 
 
Los Angeles, CA – Mayor Eric Garcetti has appointed Frank Bush as General Manager of the Department of Building and Safety, pending City Council approval. He replaces Raymond Chan, who is now serving as Garcetti’s Interim Deputy Mayor for Economic Development.  Bush has been serving as Executive Officer with the department since 2014.
 
Harrisburg, PA – The Harrisburg City Council chose Dan Miller as City Treasurer.  He replaces Tyrell Spradley, who resigned six months after being elected to the position.  Miller, a former Controller and City Council Member, lost in the race for Mayor against Eric Papenfuse, the current Mayor of Harrisburg.
 
Erie, PA – Guy Santone was sworn in as Fire Chief for the city of Erie.  Santone replaces Tony Pol, who had served as Fire Chief since 2006.  Chief Santone previously served as Chief Fire Inspector for the Erie Fire Department.
 
Counties and Authorities:
Plaquemines Parish, LA – This week, Ed Theriot was sworn in as Interim Parish President. Theriot, who is Director of Administration, fills the position after Parish President Amos Cormier passed away last week. A special election to fill the position is scheduled for November 8, 2016.
 
Harris County, TX – Alan Vierling will be the next Executive Vice President and Administrator of Lyndon B. Johnson General Hospital within the Harris County Health System, effective Summer 2016. Vierling has been serving in that roll on an interim basis.

Monterey County, CA – County Public Defender Jim Egar resigned this week after a decade in that position. Frank Dice, head of the Alternate Defense Office for the county, is now serving as Interim Public Defender. 

 
 

June 16, 2016

This Week: Upset in North Dakota GOP gubernatorial primary 

North Dakota hosted one of the biggest upsets of the campaign season when Fargo software entrepreneur and philanthropist Doug Burgum handily defeated Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem in Tuesday’s Republican gubernatorial primary election. Burgum, who at the age of 59 has never before held political office, claimed 59.46 percent of the votes cast to defeat Stenehjem, who won the state Republican Party’s endorsement at their official convention on April 2, 2016.  Despite holding a 59 to 10 percent lead in the race’s most recent poll, Stenehjem was unable to compete with Burgum’s largely self-funded campaign. Burgum and his running mate Brent Sanford will face Democratic nominee Marvin Nelson and running mate Joan Heckaman in November’s general election to replace outgoing Governor Jack Dalrymple. Burgum starts the race as the heavy favorite – the state has not elected a Democrat to the office since 1988. 

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi appointed Amit Agarwal to serve as the state’s new Solicitor General. Agarwal has previously served as Deputy Chief to the Appellate Division in the Southern District of Florida’s U.S. Attorney’s Office. He also clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. In this role, Agarwal will serve as Florida’s top appellate counsel and represent the state throughout the appellate court system.
 
Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner announced that his Chief of Staff Mike Zolnierowicz will be leaving the Office of the Governor to join the state Republican Party. Deputy Chief of Staff for Legislative Affairs Rich Goldberg will replace Zolnierowicz as Chief of Staff. This staff change is effective July 1.

Cities and Towns:
New York, NY – Mayor Bill de Blasio has appointed Jonnel Doris as the new Senior Advisor for the Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise Program.  He will help with the city’s goal of awarding $16 billion in M/WBE contracts by the year 2025.  Doris previously worked with the Office of Diversity and Civil Rights at the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery.  Also in New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio promoted Eric Phillips to Press Secretary.  Phillips is a former Deputy Communications Director in the Mayor’s press office.  He replaces Karen Hinton, who held the position for one year.
 
Oakland, CA – On June 15, Mayor Libby Schaaf appointed Paul Figueroa as Acting Chief of Police.  He replaces Sean Whent, who resigned on June 9.  Mayor Schaff appointed Ben Fairow, a former Oakland Police Captain, as Interim Chief, and then removed Whent from office less than a week later.  Figueroa is currently an Assistant Chief with the department and will serve as Acting Chief while the city conducts a search for a permanent Chief.
 
Sacramento, CA – Darrell Steinberg was elected Mayor of Sacramento.  He won a majority of 59 percent of the votes cast in the June 7 primary, eliminating the need for a general election in November.  He will replace Kevin Johnson, who opted not to run for re-election. 
 
Counties and Authorities:
Hudson County, NJ – Frances O. Thompson, former County Councilwoman, passed away last week. She had served as the Director of Minority and Women Business Enterprise for the County.
 
Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority – Laura Mason, a former executive at Bechtel, has been chosen to head up the Authority’s Safe Track program, which is a maintenance surge program expected to last one year.
 
Rhode Island Public Transit Authority – Governor Raimondo nominated Joshua Brumberger, Wayne Kezirian, and Karen Santilli to the Authority’s Board of Directors. The nominees must be confirmed by the Rhode Island State Senate.
 
 
 

June 9, 2016

This Week: AR State Rep. Kelley Linck appointed Chief of Legislative and Governmental Affairs  

Arkansas State Representative Kelley Linck was appointed to serve as the new Chief of Legislative and Governmental Affairs for the state’s human services agency. Linck is a Republican currently serving his third term in the Arkansas House of Representatives, and represents District 99 in the northern part of the state. He will take over as head of the new Office of Legislative and Governmental Affairs on June 13. Linck’s hiring is part of a broader reorganization at the Arkansas Department of Human Services that was recently announced by new Director Cindy Gillespie.
 
South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard has named Mike Jaspers to serve as Secretary of the state’s Department of Agriculture, effective July 5, 2016.  Jaspers formerly served as Director of the South Dakota Rural Development Office in the U.S. Department of Agriculture during the George W. Bush administration. He also served in the South Dakota State Legislature from 1997 to 2005. He will fill the vacancy created by the departure of former Secretary Lucas Lentsch.
 
Conservative activist and software engineer Greg Gianforte won the Republican primary for governor in Montana’s primary election held Tuesday, July 7. Gianforte and his running mate, Phillips CountyCommissioner Lesley Robinson, easily defeated challenger Terry Nelson. Gianforte and Robinson will face incumbents Governor Steve Bullock and Lieutenant Governor Mike Cooney, both Democrats, in November’s general election. Although Bullock’s approval rating has consistently ranked above 50 percent, he could face a significant challenge from Gianforte’s well-funded campaign.

Cities and Towns:
Memphis, TN – This week, the City Council approved Maria Muñoz-Blanco as the city’s new Director of Parks and Neighborhoods. Muñoz-Blanco was previously Director of Cultural Affairs for Miami-Dade College and for the City of Dallas.
 
Seattle, WA – Chris Gregorich will be the next Intergovernmental Relations Director for Seattle. Gregorich, who currently works in the Mayor’s office as Special Advisor for Strategic Initiatives, will start in the new position on June 29, 2016.
 
Toledo, OH – Alan Bannister, Executive Assistant to Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson, has announced that he will resign from his position on June 17, 2016.
 
Counties and Authorities:
Nassau County, NY – Commissioner of Human Services Lisa Murphy has left her position with the county, joining the Town of Hempstead’s Department of Senior Enrichment. James Dolan, Jr. will succeed her as Commissioner on an interim basis.
 
Northampton County, PA – Luis Campos, County Administrator, has resigned from his position. County Executive John A. Brown will take over the duties associated with the position. 
 
 
 

June 2, 2016

This Week: Chuck Ardo resigns as Communications Advisor to PA AG Kathleen Kane  

Chuck Ardo resigned from his position as Communications Advisor for Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane, making him the seventh spokesperson to quit the position during Kane’s tumultuous tenure. Ardo served as Kane’s spokesperson for thirteen months, which is longer than any of the previous six people. In an interview, Ardo explained his reasons for quitting, which include a lack of communication between the Attorney General and her senior staff. Ardo said, “I could no longer in good conscience do the job she had hired me to do.”
 
Oregon Governor Kate Brown has appointed former Multnomah County prosecutor Jeffrey Rhoades to serve in the new position of Marijuana Policy Advisor. Rhoades, who will begin his new position on June 20, will advise the governor on issues related to the sale of marijuana, which became legal in the state last year. Governor Brown is following the lead of Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper, who created the position of Marijuana Coordination Director in 2014 after voters in the Rocky Mountain State approved a constitutional amendment legalizing the sale of recreational marijuana.
 
Candice Jones has resigned from her position as Director of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice effective June 1, 2016. In a press release, Governor Bruce Rauner announced that Deputy Director of Operations Jesse Montgomery will serve as Acting Director until the search for a permanent director concludes.

Cities and Towns:
 
Boston, MA – Mayor Martin Walsh appointed Andrew Therriault as the City’s first Chief Data Officer in the Department of Innovation and Technology.  He will work to advance Boston’s role as a leader in data-driven government.  Therriault previously served as Director of Data Science for the Democratic National Committee.
 
Minneapolis, MN – The Minneapolis School Board has hired Ed Graff as the next Superintendent, effective July 2016.  He replaces Michael Thomas, who has been serving as Interim Superintendent.  Graff is currently Superintendent of Anchorage, AK School District, a position he has held since 2013.
 
Salt Lake City, UT – Fire Chief Brian Dale has announced that he will retire on October 1, 2016, after 30 years of service with the department.  Mayor Jackie Biskupski will appoint a successor.
 
 
Counties and Authorities:
 
Allen County, IN – Elissa McGauley was chosen this week as Director of Redevelopment for the County. McGauley, who will start in the position on June 20, previously worked as a development coordinator for the City of Fort Wayne, IN.
 
Fulton County, GA – Jeff Rose started his new position as Fulton County Schools Superintendent on June 1, 2016. Rose, who had led Beaverton School district in Oregon for five years, takes over for Interim Superintendent Kenneth Zeff.
 
 
 

May 26, 2016

This Week: Richard Crandall steps down as Commissioner of the Colorado Department of Education  

Richard Crandall announced he would step down from his position as Commissioner of the Colorado Department of Education after leading the agency for just four-and-a-half months. In a statement, Crandall cited his family and young children, who live out of state, as a primary reason for his resignation. Crandall served as a Republican member of both the Arizona House of Representatives and Arizona State Senatebefore becoming Director of the Wyoming Department of Education in 2013. He was hired as Commissioner of the CDE last December and took over the job this January. In a special meeting following Crandall’s resignation, the State Board of Education voted to appoint the department’s Chief of Staff Katy Anthes to serve as Interim Commissioner.
 
John Gregg, the Democratic challenger to Indiana Governor Mike Pence in November’s gubernatorial election, named a state legislator to serve as his running mate. Gregg announced that he has selected Christina Hale to join his campaign as a candidate for Lieutenant Governor. Hale has served as a member of the Indiana House of Representatives since 2012 and represents District 87 in northeastern Indianapolis. Hale is the Ranking Minority Member of both the Insurance and the Utilities, Energy and Telecommunicationscommittee. In a statement, Gregg referred to Hale as “a partner who shares my commitment to working across the aisle to get things done.”
 
John Quigley resigned as Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection on Friday, May 20, after news outlets revealed he has sent a profanity-laced email to several environmental groups. Quigley had led the department since the start of current Governor Tom Wolf’s administration. The email in question, dated April 13, chastised environmental nonprofits for failing to speak out against the Republican-led legislature’s rejection of oil and gas regulations. Governor Wolf issued a statement that thanked Quigley for his service but offered no details about the reasons for the sudden departure. Patrick McDonnell, the agency’s Director of Policy, will replace Quigley as Acting Secretary.  
 
Cities and Towns:
Portland, OR – Portland Mayor Charlie Hales has placed Police Chief Larry O’Dea on administrative leave.  O’Dea was involved in a shooting accident while on a hunting trip in April and misled the investigator into thinking it was a self-inflicted wound to a friend of his.  Donna Henderson is serving as Acting Chief of Police.
 
Atlanta, GA – Mayor Kasim Reed made two department head changes this week.  Roosevelt Council has been appointed Interim General Manager of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.  He replaces Miguel Southwell, who had served as General Manager since 2015.  The Mayor also appointed William Johnson as Interim Commissioner of the Department of Watershed Management. He replaces Jo Ann Macrina.  Johnson was recently hired as Atlanta’s Deputy Chief Operating Officer.
 
Boston, MA – Jill Bourne has been hired as the new President of the Boston Public Library, effective Summer 2016.  She will replace David Leonard, who has been serving as Interim President since June 2015.  Bourne has been serving as Library Director for the San Jose Public Library since 2013 and will start in Boston once contract negotiations have been completed.
 
San Francisco, CA – Police Chief Greg Suhr has resigned, following a police officer’s deadly shooting of a victim in a stolen car arrest. Deputy Chief Toney Chaplin is serving as Acting Police Chief.  Suhr had served as San Francisco’s Police Chief since 2011.
 
 
Counties and Authorities:
Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority – U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx appointed Kathryn Thomson as Special Safety Advisor for the Authority. Thomson had recently served as General Counsel for the U.S. Department of Transportation.
 
New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority – Beth DeFalco will be the next Director of Communication for the Transportation Authority. DeFranco, who had previously served as spokesperson for Senator Cory Booker will start in the new position in June.
 
Hudson County, NJ – Harold Demellier, longtime county employee and Director of the County Department of Roads and Public Property, passed away earlier this week. No successor has been named.
 
New Castle County, DE – Democrat Ken Woods won a special election on May 24, 2016, to fill the seat of County Councilman Joe Reda, who passed away this past month. Woods will be sworn in next week.
 
 
 

May 19, 2016

This Week: Oregon holds primary in gubernatorial special election  

Political newcomer Bud Pierce won the Republican nomination for Governor in Oregon’s primary election held on Tuesday. Pierce, an oncologist from Salem, won 48 percent of the votes cast in the five-candidate field. His closest challenger was former state Republican Party Chairman Allen Alley, who took 29 percent of the vote. Democratic incumbent Kate Brown easily won her party’s nomination by garnering 85 percent of the votes cast. Pierce faces a challenge in his battle to unseat Brown in November, and it’s not just due to his political inexperience. A Republican has not won the gubernatorial election in Oregon since 1982. The winner of November’s special election will fill the remaining two years of John Kitzhaber’s term. Kitzhaber resigned in February 2015, just one month into his fourth four-year term.
 
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam has appointed Patrick Sheehan to lead the state’s disaster response agency. Sheehan will take over as Director of the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency from current agency head David Purkey on June 15. Purkey is stepping down from TEMA after a two-year stint as Director, but will remain in his other position as Assistant Commissioner of the Office of Homeland Security. Sheehan is a graduate of Kennesaw State University and previously served as Plans Branch Chief for Ohio’s Emergency Management Agency.
 
West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin appointed Lisa Hopkins to serve as State Auditor effective May 14, 2016. Hopkins will hold the position for the remainder of retiring State Auditor Glenn Gainer’s term, which expires in January 2017. Hopkins has been General Counsel and Deputy Commissioner of Securities at the State Auditor’s office since 2001. Democrat May Ann Claytor and Republican John B. McCuskey will face off in November’s general election to win the auditor job for the upcoming four-year term.

 
 
Cities and Towns:
Davie, FL – Julie Downey has been appointed Fire Chief in Davie. She replaces Michael Malvasio, who had been serving as Acting Fire Chief since February 2016.  Downey is a 34 year veteran of the Fire Department, having served as Battalion Chief and Assistant Fire Chief.
 
Jersey City, NJ – City Council Member Chico Ramchal has resigned, following a drunken driving arrest in March 2015 and a grand jury inquiry.  Ramchal had served on the City Council since 2013.
 
Chicago, IL – Mayor Rahm Emanuel has appointed Andrea Zopp as Deputy Mayor and Chief Neighborhood Development Officer, a new position in his administration.  Zopp had previously served as President and CEO of the Chicago Urban League. She also had served as a prosecutor and an Assistant United States Attorney.
 
Nashville, TN – Shawn Joseph has been hired as the new Director of Schools at Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools, effective July 1, 2016.  He comes to Nashville from a position of Deputy Superintendent in Prince George’s County, MD.  Joseph replaces Chris Henson, who has been serving as Interim Director of Schools.
 
 
Counties and Authorities:
Luzerne County, PA – Acting County Manager C. David Pedri was appointed to the position permanently this past week. Pedri has previously served as Assistant District Attorney.  He replaces Robert Lawton, who resigned in December 2015.
 
Jefferson Parish, LA – Reporter Antwan Harris is Jefferson Parish’s new Public Information Officer. Harris had previously been with the New Orleans CBS affiliate WWL.  Harris replaces Kriss Fortunato, who left in January 2016. 
 
 
 

May 12, 2016

This Week: West Virginia holds primaries for statewide and legislative offices 

West Virginia voters cast their primary ballots in six statewide races and several more legislative races on Tuesday, May 10.  Billionaire coal magnate Jim Justice, who was recently named as the wealthiest person in West Virginia by Forbes Magazine, won the Democratic nomination for Governor. Justice earned 51.4 percent of the vote against former U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin and State Senator Jeff Kessler. Bill Cole, the President of the West Virginia Senate, ran unopposed in the Republican primary and will face Justice in November to see who will replace outgoing Democratic Governor Earl Ray Tomblin. Incumbent Republican Attorney General Patrick Morrisey is running for a second term in office and will face off against Democratic State Delegate Doug Reynolds in November. Ann Urling won the Republican nomination for State Treasurer, and will go head-to-head against Democratic incumbent John Perdue. Secretary of State Natalie Tennant fended over a challenger in the Democratic primary and will face Republican nominee Mac Warner in the general election. The nominees for State Auditor are Democrat Mary Ann Claytor and Republican John B. McCluskey. The election for Commissioner of Agriculture will be between Democratic incumbent Walt Helmick and Republican State Senator Kent Leonhardt. Richard Ojeda, a Democratic challenger for Senate District 7 who earned national headlines after being brutally beaten two days before the primary, defeated incumbent Ark Kirkendoll. Police have not yet determined a motive for the attack on Ojeda.
 
Kevin Kennedy, the head of Wisconsin’s Government Accountability Board, announced he will retire this summer after spending 37 years with the agency. In December, Governor Scott Walker signed a Republican-sponsored bill to split the nonpartisan Government Accountability Board, which oversees elections and enforces ethics laws, into two separate commissions made up of partisan employees. This reorganization is scheduled to take place on July 1, two days after Kennedy’s announced retirement date. Kennedy served as Executive Director of the agency from 1982 to 2007, when it was known as the State Elections Board. Once the agency was transformed into the Government Accountability and Ethic Board in 2007, he was named Director and General Counsel. Kennedy has been a target of Republican criticism in recent years for his investigations into Gov. Walker and conservative groups, which some GOP legislators have called politically motivated and beyond the scope of the board’s authority.
 
Maryland Governor Larry Hogan appointed Robert Neall to serve as Senior Advisor to the Governor and as Executive Director of the brand new Governor’s Office of Transformation and Renewal. In this position, Neall will oversee a multi-year effort to optimize government efficiency within Maryland’s executive branch. Neall represented District 33 in the Maryland Senate from 1996 to 2003. He will start this new position on July 1, 2016.

 

Cities and Towns:

Salt Lake City, UT – City Finance Director Gina Chamness has announced that she will resign on May 24, 2016.  She had served as Budget Manager for eight years and was appointed Finance Director in 2014.  Chamness is leaving for the position of City Manager in Holladay, UT.
 
Philadelphia, PA – Department of Streets Commissioner Donald Carlton was arrested following charges he was involved in a fight occurring in December 2015.  Mayor Jim Kenney has put Carlton on administrative leave and Deputy Commissioner Michael Carroll is serving as Acting Streets Commissioner.
 
Los Angeles, CA – Mayor Eric Garcetti has appointed Aram Sahakian Interim General Manager of the Emergency Management Department.  Sahakian had worked with the city’s Department of Transportation Emergency Response team.  He replaces James Featherstone, who retired.
 
 
 

Counties and Authorities:

Arlington County, VA – James Bonzano started his new position as Fire Chief for Arlington County, this week. Bonzano previously served as Acting Assistant Chief for the County and is a 31 year veteran of the Fire Department.

Lancaster County, NE – County Corrections Director Mike Thurber resigned from his position this week after more than twenty years with the county. Deputy Chief Administrative Officer Gwen Thorpe will serve as Interim Director through the end of May. 

 
 

May 5, 2016

This Week: Gov. Asa Hutchinson's chief of staff resigns

Michael Lamoureux, the Chief of Staff to Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson, has announced he will step down from that position at the end of May. In a statement, Lamoureux announced he will resign to accept an unspecified “professional opportunity.” Lamoureux has held this position since Gov. Hutchinson was sworn into office in January 2015. Before joining the Governor’s office, Lamoureux served in both the Arkansas House of Representatives and Arkansas Senate. He was President Pro Tempore of the Arkansas Senate from May 2013 until November 2014, when he resigned to become the Director of then Governor-Elect Hutchinson’s Transition Team.
 
The Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio has submitted his resignation. Andre Porter will leave his position as head of the utility regulation agency on May 20. In a letter to Governor John Kasich, Porter said he will pursuing a new job in the private sector. Porter initially served a two-year stint as a member of the Public Utilities Commission from April 2011 to April 2013, but left after being named Director of the Ohio Department of Commerce. He rejoined the Commission as its Chair in April 2015. His term is not scheduled to expire until April 2020.
 
Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced the appointment of Charles Smith to serve as Executive Commissioner of the state’s Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). Smith will replace Chris Traylor, who announced last month he would be leaving the agency after serving as its head for less than a year. Smith is currently Chief Deputy Executive Commissioner of HHSC, and previously served as Deputy Attorney General for Child Support during Greg Abbott’s tenure as Attorney General. Gov. Abbott also appointed Cecile Young, HHSC’s current Chief of Staff, to replace Smith in the Chief Deputy Executive Commissioner position. Both appointments are effective June 1, 2016.
 
 
Cities and Towns:
Baltimore, MD – Sonja Santelises has been hired as Chief Executive Officer of Baltimore City Public Schools, effective July 1, 2016.  She currently serves as Vice President, K-12 Policy and Practice for The Education Trust.  Santelises replaces Gregory Thornton, who resigned.  Current Baltimore Schools General Counsel Tammy Turner will serve as Interim CEO through June 30, 2016.
 
Denver, CO – Denver City Attorney Scott Martinez has announced that he will resign on May 31, 2016.  Martinez has served as City Attorney since 2013.  Current Deputy City Attorney Cristal DeHerrera will serve as Interim City Attorney during the search for a permanent replacement for Martinez.
 
Vancouver, WA – Port of Vancouver Executive Director Todd Coleman has announced that he will resign on May 19, 2016.  He has held the position since 2012 and served as Deputy Executive Director.  An interim Executive Director will be appointed while the Port searches for a replacement for Coleman.
 
New York, NY – Mayor Bill de Blasio has appointed Barbara Chang as Executive Director of the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development.  Chang has over 30 years of nonprofit management experience, having previously served as Chief Executive Officer at Code to Work.
 
 
 
Counties and Authorities:
Maricopa County, AZ – County Manager Tom Manos retired this week after holding the position since 2012. Current County Chief Financial Officer Shelby Scharbach will serve as interim County Manager until a permanent replacement is found.
 
Hillsborough County, NH – County Commissioner Carol Holden passed away this week. She had served on the County Commission since 1997.
 
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority – U.S. Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx appointed Carol Carmody, David Strickland, and Robert Lauby to the Board of the Transportation Authority. They will replace Mortimer Downey, Harriet Tregoning, and Anthony Giancola, effective June 1, 2016.
 
 
 

April 28, 2016

This Week: Pennsylvania holds primaries for AG, and special election for State Senate

Pennsylvania held a primary election on Tuesday, April 26, to determine party nominees in this November’s Attorney General election. Incumbent Kathleen Kane, who is currently facing federal charges and a result had her law license suspended, announced in February she would not seek reelection. Montgomery County Commissioner Josh Shapiro won the Democratic nomination over Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala and Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli. Shapiro will face State Senator John Rafferty, who won 64 percent of the vote in the Republican primary against former federal prosecutor Joe Peters. Voters in the Pennsylvania State Senate’s Ninth District also voted in a special election to determine the replacement for former Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi. Republican State Representative Tom Killion defeated Democrat Marty Molloy by over 10,000 votes.
 
Utah Governor Gary Herbert was dealt a setback in his efforts to win reelection to a third term in office when he failed to clinch the Republican nomination at the state party’s convention on Saturday, April 23. Republican challenger Jonathan Johnson, the current Chairman of Overstock.com’s Board of Directors, forced a primary election by winning 55 percent of votes cast by the approximately 4,000 delegates in attendance. Per state party rules, if no candidate receives the 60 percent of the vote necessary to secure the nomination, then the top two candidates must face off in primary election to be held on June 28. All registered Republican voters in Utah may vote in the primary election. Johnson is joined in his campaign by running mate Robyn Bagley, who currently serves as Board Chair for the advocacy group Parents for Choice in Education. Herbert’s running mate is current Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox. Whichever ticket wins the primary election will face Democratic gubernatorial nominee Mike Weinholtz and his running mate Kim Bowman.
 
The Hawaii Legislature appointed Leslie Kondo to serve as the new State Auditor. In this position, Kondo will monitor the executive branch and ensure that public funds are spent according to the legislature’s intent. Kondo is currently Executive Director and General Counsel of the Hawaii State Ethics Commission. He will replace Acting State Auditor Jan Yamane starting May 1.
 
Cities and Towns:
Tyler, TX – Les Schminkey has been appointed Interim Fire Chief in Tyler.  He replaces Tim Johnson who is a 35 year veteran of the Department.  Schminkey has served 26 years with Tyler Fire Department.
 
High Point, NC – Kenneth Shultz has been appointed Chief of Police.  He has been a sworn officer on the High Point Police Department for 26 years.  Shultz replaces Marty Sumner, who retired after serving as Chief since 2012.
 
Richmond, CA – Allwyn Brown is the permanent Chief of Police in Richmond, having served as Interim Chief for the past month.  He replaces Chris Magnus, who left to serve as Police Chief in Tucson, AZ. 
 
Counties and Authorities:
Lafourche Parish, LA – James Honore’ Bourgeois was sworn in as the Parish Council Member for District 5 this week. Bourgeois takes over for Roy Landry, who had filled the seat on an interim basis beginning in January 2016. His term expires at the end of 2020.
 
Hamilton County, OH – County Administrator Christian Sigman has resigned several months earlier than planned. Sigman, who had originally announced that he would resign in September, is succeeded by Assistant County Administrator Jeff Aluotto, who will serve in an acting capacity while the County conducts a nationwide search for a permanent replacement.
 
 
 

April 21, 2016

This Week: New York holds special elections

New York held four special elections on Tuesday, April 19, to fill vacant legislative seats. Democrat Jaime R. Williams won the New York Assembly District 59 special election and will replace Roxanne Persaud, who left the Assembly after being elected to the New York State Senate. Republican Ronald Castorina Jr. was elected to represent Assembly District 62, which was vacated by Joseph Borelli after he was elected to the City Council of New York. Democrat Alice Cancel won the race to fill Assembly District 65. Cancel will replace former Speaker of the Assembly Sheldon Silver, who was expelled from office last November after being convicted of fraud. The special election to fill New York State Senate District 9 remains too close to call. Democrat Todd Kaminsky leads Republican Chris McGrath by 800 votes out of over 68,000 cast. This seat was formerly held by Senate President Dean Skelos, who, like Silver, was expelled from office after being convicted of corruption.

Kevin Roberts, the Director of Communications for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, will step down from his position on Friday, April 22. Roberts first joined the Office of the Governor in 2010, when he was hired as Deputy Press Secretary. He left in 2013 to serve as Press Secretary for Governor Christie’s reelection campaign, and rejoined the Governor’s Office in 2015. 

Stephanie Beckhorn was named Director of Michigan’s Workforce Development Agency. Beckhorn has been serving as Acting Director of the agency since November 2015, when former Director Christine Quinn resigned to join the U.S. Department of Labor

Cities and Towns:

New York, NY – Richard Emery has resigned as the Chairman of the Civilian Complaint Review Board.  The CCRB handles complaints about police misconduct.  Emery had been serving as Chairman since 2014.  Deborah Archer has been appointed as Acting Chair of the Board. 

Petersburg, VA – Marcus Newsome has been appointed the new Superintendent of Petersburg Public Schools, effective July 1, 2016.  He replaces Linda Shifflette who has been serving as Interim Superintendent since October 2015.  Newsome comes to Petersburg from Chesterfield County, VA where he is serving as Superintendent of Schools. 

Greenville, NC – Brock Letchworth has been hired as Communications Manager and Public Information Officer, effective May 2, 2016.  He had previously served as Coordinator of Public Information and Community Outreach for the Pitt County, NC School System. 

Counties and Authorities:

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority – WMATA has hired La Toya Thomas as Comptroller.  Thomas had previously worked in accounting for Fairfax County, VA Schools and the City of Manassas, VA.

St. Charles Parish, LA – Clayton “Snookie” Faucheux will be the Parish’s next Public Works Director. Faucheux, who previously served on the County Council, will start his new position in May, 2016. 

Benton County, AR – County Sheriff Kelly Cradduck resigned his position after facing felony charges. His resignation will become effective once an interim replacement is found. Currently, Chief Richie Conner is Acting Sheriff. 

 

 

 

April 14, 2016

This Week: Micah Lasher steps down as Chief of Staff to NY AG Eric Schneiderman

Micah Lasher has stepped down from his position as Chief of Staff in the New York Office of the Attorney General to focus on a run for the New York State Senate. Lasher had served as Chief of Staff to Attorney General Eric Schneiderman since 2013, and previously worked in the Office of U.S. Representative Jerrold Nadler and the Office of New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He is running as a Democrat to replace outgoing State Senator Adriano Espaillat in Manhattan’s 31st District. Lasher’s last day working for Attorney General Schneiderman was Wednesday, April 6.
 
Indiana’s newly-appointed Lieutenant Governor Eric Holcomb has named Greg Wilson to the position of Intergovernmental Relations Director. Wilson previously served as Director of the Office of Minority and Women Business Development for the City of Indianapolis and Marion County, where he worked under Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard. In his new position, Wilson will focus on engagement efforts between local elected leaders on behalf of Lieutenant Governor Holcomb.

Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel has hired Kevin Benacci to serve as his new Chief of Staff. Benacci was previously part of the Office of U.S. Representative David Joyce, where he held the positions of Deputy Chief of Staff and Communications Director, and District Outreach Representative. Benacci will succeed outgoing Chief of Staff Michael Lord, who is departing the office on May 5 to start a private consulting firm.
 
Cities and Towns:
 
Chicago, IL – The Chicago City Council approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s choice for permanent Superintendent of Police.  Eddie Johnson was sworn into office on April 13, 2016.  He replaces John Escalante, who had been serving as Interim Police Superintendent.  Also, Mayor Emanuel appointed Sophia King as the Ward 4 Alderman in the Chicago City Council.  She replaces Will Burns who resigned in February 2016.
 
Philadelphia, PA – Mayor Jim Kenney made two appointments to his administration this week.  Adam Thiel was appointed as Fire Commissioner and Blanche Carney as Prisons Commissioner.  Thiel comes to the position from the Virginia Public Safety and Homeland Security Secretariat, where he serves as Deputy Security. He replaces Derrick Sawyer who has been serving as Acting Fire Commissioner. Carney previously served as the Human Services Program Administrator for Philadelphia Prisons.  She replaces Michael Resnick who has been Acting Commissioner since January 2016.
 
Cleveland, OH – Angelo Calvillo was sworn in as Cleveland’s permanent Fire Chief.  He had been serving as Interim Chief since September 2015.  He replaces Patrick Kelly, who retired.  Calvillo had previously served as Fire Battalion Chief in Cleveland.
 
Counties and Authorities:
 
Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority – WMATA General Manager and CEO Paul Wiedefeld announced this week that Patrick Lavin will be the Authority’s next Chief Safety Officer. Lavin, who was most recently worked for New York City Transit’s Office of System Safety, will start his new job on May 9, 2016.
 
Shelby County, TN – the County Election Commission voted last week to hire Linda Phillips as the County’s new Elections Coordinator. Phillips, who previously served as County Clerk for Tippecanoe County, IN, will start in May 2016.
 

 

 

April 7, 2016

This Week: Alabama state legislators move to impeach Gov. Robert Bentley

Alabama State Representatives filed articles of impeachment against Governor Robert Bentley on Tuesday, April 5, 2016. Governor Bentley has been under fire for the past two weeks after a fired state employee alleged Bentley and his now former political advisor, Rebekah Caldwell Mason, had an illicit and potentially illegal affair. Governor Bentley has said there are no grounds for his impeachment and continues to say he will not resign.

Maine Democratic Senator-elect Susan Deschambault was originally scheduled to be sworn-in in a ceremony on April 1, 2016. However, Governor Paul LePage cancelled the ceremony at the last minute to send a message to Senate Democrats, who’d voted against one of his nominees to the Maine Unemployment Insurance Commission. Maine law gives the governor five business days to certify the results of an election, enabling the newly elected to be sworn in. The Maine Senate decided to delay any major votes until after Deschambault was seated. She was sworn in on April 5th.
 
On April 4, 2016, Governor Sam Brownback announced his appointment of Joseph Norwood to serve as the Secretary of the Kansas Department of Corrections. Mr. Norwood has been working in the corrections field for over thirty years. He began as a Correctional Officer within the Leavenworth United States Penitentiary. Joseph Norwood will be replacing the former Secretary Ray Roberts who departed back in December. He will begin as an Acting Secretary May, 30, 2016.
 
Cities and Towns:
 
Charlotte, NC – Kevin Dick has been appointed as Charlotte’s new Director of Economic Development, effective May 9, 2016.  He is currently Director of the Office of Economic and Workforce Development in Durham, NC.
 
Louisville, KY – Deborah Bilitski has been hired as the new Director of Develop Louisville, effective April 25, 2016.  She replaces Jim Mims who is retiring, having served as Director since 2014.  Develop Louisville is the planning, design and building review department for the city.
 
Pittsburgh, PA – Carlos Torres has been hired as the new Executive Director for the Pittsburgh Commission on Human Relations.  He replaces Sarah Kinter, who had been serving as Interim Executive Director since 2015.
 
Counties and Authorities:
 
Monroe County, NY – County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo appointed Dr. Nadia Granger as the new County Medical Examiner. Dr. Granger has served as Associate Medical Examiner with Monroe County since 2011.
 
Henrico County, VA – Humberto Cardounel was selected as the next Chief of Police for Henrico County, effective April 15, 2016. Cardounel has been with the County Police Department since 1988 and most recently served as Deputy Chief of Police overseeing the Investigative Bureau.
 
Chatham County, GA – John Wilcher was sworn in as Sheriff on Tuesday after winning a special election last month. He replaces previous Sheriff Al St. Lawrence, who passed away last fall.
 
Tulsa County, OK – Vic Regalado won a special election for the position of County Sheriff this week. The special election followed the resignation of previous Sheriff Stanley Glanz, who resigned last September in the wake of a federal indictment.
 

 

 

March 31, 2016

This Week: Gov. Bentley (AL) aide resigns after affair allegations surface

Rebekah Caldwell Mason resigned from her position as top advisor to Alabama Governor Robert Bentley on Wednesday, March 30, a full week after a fired state employee alleged her and the governor of carrying on an illicit and possibly illegal affair. Mason issued a statement of Wednesday afternoon saying, “I have resigned as Senior Political Advisor to Governor Bentley and will no longer be paid from his campaign fund.” Mason revealed earlier this week that she was not on state payroll, and has been paid for the last three years from the Governor’s reelection campaign fund. An audio recording released to the public last week reveals Governor Bentley engaging in sexual remarks over the phone with a person he refers to as “Rebekah”.   Governor Bentley has admitted to making “inappropriate” remarks to Mason, but denies having a physical affair with her. The governor also reiterated that he has no plans to resign from office, despite being under investigation by the Alabama Ethics Commissioner for alleged misuse of state resources to further his relationship with Mason.
 
Democrat Susan Deschambault defeated Republican Stephen Martin in the special election to represent District 32 in the Maine State Senate. Deschambault claimed 57 percent of the votes cast in the southern coastal district, which includes the towns of Kennebunkport and Biddeford. The seat was vacated in January after State Senator David Dutremble announced he would resign from office to focus on a personal battle with alcoholism. Since Dutremble was also a Democrat, the balance of power in the Republican-controlled chamber remains 21-14.

 

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has hired Jack Jablonski to serve as his new Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications. Jablonski is the current Deputy Secretary of the state’s Department of Revenue. He will replace outgoing communications head Jocelyn Webster beginning April 18.
 
Cities and Towns:
 
Chicago, IL – Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced two appointments in public safety this week.  He named current Chief of Patrol Eddie Johnson as Interim Police Superintendent.  Johnson replaced John Escalante, who had been serving as Acting Superintendent since December 2015.  The Mayor rejected the names put forward for consideration by the Police Accountability Task Force and has asked that a new search be conducted for a permanent Superintendent.  Mayor Emanuel also appointed Alicia Tate-Nadeau as Executive Director of the Office of Emergency Management and Communications.  She replaces Gary Schenkel, who held the position since 2011.  Tate-Nadeau previously served as Assistant Adjutant General in the Illinois National Guard.
 
Reading, PA – Reading Mayor Wally Scott appointed Charles D. Younger as Acting Managing Director for the City.  Younger previously served as City Solicitor in Reading.  The Mayor also appointed Thomas Coleman as Acting City Solicitor to replace Younger.
 
Virginia Beach, VA – Virginia Beach Convention Center and Visitors Bureau Director Jim Ricketts has passed away.  He had served as Director since 1988.  Brad Van Dommelen will serve as the new Director, effective April 7, 2016.
 
Counties and Authorities:
 
Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority – Chief Safety Officer Louis Brown has announced that he will resign from WMATA effective April 22, 2016.  He has served as Chief Safety Officer since September 2015.
 
Johnson County, KS – Ellen Wernicke has been appointed permanent Director of Johnson County Emergency Management and Communications.  She had been serving as Interim Director since October 2015, replacing Walt Way.  Wernicke is an 18 year veteran of the department, most recently serving as Deputy Director since 2006.

 

March 24, 2016

This Week: Gov. Robert Bentley (AL) denies having an affair

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley held a press conference late Wednesday afternoon to deny allegations that he had a sexual relationship with a top political advisor. Rumors of an affair have been swirling since Bentley filed for divorce from his wife of 50 years last September, but the story took on a new dimension this week when a fired state official publicly claimed he had seen and heard evidence of an inappropriate relationship between Bentley and his Chief Political Advisor Rebekah Caldwell Mason. Spencer Collier was dismissed as Secretary of the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) on Tuesday, March 22, and replaced in an acting capacity by Stan Stabler. In a press release announcing the staff change, Bentley said an internal review of the agency turned up possible misuse of public funds. A day later, Collier claimed that Bentley had directly told him about the affairs in detail, and that he had seen explicit texts sent by Mason to Bentley’s personal cell phone. Collier also said he was in possession of a tape recording of Bentley making sexual remarks to someone during a phone conversation. Collier said he believed but could not prove the governor had misused state funds in the course of his affair, and claims he was fired because of his knowledge of the affair. Collier also denied allegations of misused funds at ALEA. In his statement to the media on Wednesday, Bentley admitted he had made sexual remarks to an unnamed staffer, but denied having any physical contact with her.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper announced he will nominated Kaiser executive Donna Lynne to serve as the state’s next Lieutenant Governor. Lynne previously spent 20 years working in the New York City government and is now Executive Vice President of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Kaiser Foundation Hospitals. If confirmed by the Colorado General Assembly, Lynne will replace currently Lieutenant Governor Joe Garcia, who is leaving office on April 29 to become President of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education. Garcia was also dual-hatted as Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education; a search is currently underway to find a replacement for Garcia in this position.
 
Florida Governor Rick Scott announced the appointment of Kim McDougal to serve as his Chief of Staff. McDougal is currently Deputy Chief of Staff and Legislative Affairs Director in Governor Scott’s office, and previously served as Education Policy Coordinator. She will replace current Chief of Staff Melissa Sellers on April 2. 
 
Cities and Towns:
 
Hartford, CT – Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin has hired Brett Broesder as Director of Communications and New Media.  Broesder had previously served as Director of Communications to Bill Finch, former Mayor of Bridgeport, CT.
 
Gainesville, FL – Lauren Poe defeated incumbent Ed Braddy in the election for Mayor of Gainesville.  Poe will be sworn into office on May 5, 2016, and will serve for three years.  Adrian Hayes-Santos was elected to the open District 4 seat on Gainesville’s City Council.
 
Counties and Authorities:
 
Monroe County, NY – Adam Bello was appointed Monroe County Clerk by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo. Bello, who was previously a Supervisor for the Town of Irondequoit, NY was sworn in on March 24, 2016. He succeeds Cheryl Dinolfo, who was elected Monroe County Executive in November 2015.
 
Cook County, IL – County Council President Toni Preckwinkle named Brian Hamer as her new Chief of Staff. Hamer, who most recently served as Director of Revenue for the State of Illinois, started on March 23, 2016.
 
Fulton County, GA – Jeff Rose was chosen as the next Superintendent of Fulton County Schools, effective June 1, 2016.  He fills the position after previous Superintendent Robert Avossa left last year to serve as Superintendent for Palm Beach County Schools in Florida. Rose is currently Superintendent for Beaverton School District in Oregon.

 

March 17, 2016

This Week: North Carolina holds primaries for statewide offices

North Carolina held primary elections for several statewide offices on Tuesday, March 15, and voters have cast their choices in what could be the most competitive gubernatorial race of 2016.  Incumbent Governor Pat McCrory handily defeated two challengers in the Republican primary, and Attorney General Roy Cooper defeated former State Representative Kenneth Spaulding to win the Democratic nomination. The two candidates have raised a combined $10 million already, and early polls have the candidates tied. In North Carolina’s Lieutenant Governor’s race, Democrat Linda Coleman will take on incumbent Dan Forest. Incumbent Secretary of State Elaine Marshall will run for reelection against Republican challenger Michal LaPaglia. Democratic State Senator Josh Stein will face Republican Buck Newton in the race to replace Cooper as Attorney General.
 
In a shocking move, Kansas Speaker of the House Ray Merrick stripped two members of his caucus of their leadership positions following a rules dispute. State Representative John Rubin was removed as Chair of theCorrections and Juvenile Justice committee, and State Representative John Barker lost his position as Chair of the Rules and Journal committee. Merrick announced the changes on the floor of the Kansas House on Tuesday, March 15, saying he made the changes after Rubin and Baker tried to bring a bill up for floor debate before its scheduled hearing.
 
Ron Ramsey, the Lieutenant Governor of Tennessee and the Speaker of the Tennessee State Senate, announced he will not run for reelection in November. Tennessee is one of two states where the Lieutenant Governor is a member of the State Senate who is elected by his fellow legislators. Ramsey was first elected to the Senate in 1996, and he became Lieutenant Governor in 2007 after Republicans took control of the chamber. 
 
Tempe, AZ –Mark Mitchell was re-elected this week for the position of Mayor of Tempe.  He was unopposed on the ballot.  Incumbent City Council Members Joel Navarro and Kolby Granville were re-elected, as well as newcomer Randy Keating.
 
Juneau, AK – In a special election this week, Ken Koelsch was elected Mayor of Juneau.  He will serve out the remainder of the term through October 2018.  Koelsch replaces Mary Becker, who was appointed Mayor in November 2015, following the death of former Mayor Greg Fisk.
 
New York, NY – Joy Shigaki has joined the staff of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City as the Director of Development.  She previously served as Senior Director of Advancement for Episcopal Relief and Development.
 
Fort Smith, AR – Police Chief Kevin Lindsey had resigned, following racist remarks he made to a city employee.  Dean Pitts has been appointed Interim Chief of Police.
 
Counties and Authorities:
 
Hudson County, NJ – Longtime Chief of Staff and former County Freeholder Bill Gaughan will retire April 1, 2016. Gaughan has served as Chief of Staff to County Executive Tom DeGise since he took office in 2002.  He will be succeeded by current Deputy Chief of Staff Craig Guy.
 
Cuyahoga County, OH – Current County Prosecutor Timothy McGinty lost his reelection bid. Assistant County Prosecutor Michael O’Malley won Tuesday’s Democratic Primary election by a small margin. As there was no Republican contender, O’Malley will be County Prosecutor once McGinty’s term expires at the end of this year. County Councilors Jack Schron, Pernel Jones, and Anthony Hairston were also re-elected to another four year term expiring at the end of 2020, after running unopposed.
 
Cook County, IL – County Recorder of Deeds Karen Yarbrough was reelected this week after running unopposed in Tuesday’s Primary Election. Yarbrough’s new term will expire at the end of 2020. 

 

March 10, 2016

This Week: Democrats win special elections in Kentucky, expand majority in Kentucky State House 

Kyle Tasker resigned from his seat in the New Hampshire House of Representatives on Wednesday, March 9, following his arrest on felony drug charges and using the internet to lure an underage girl into having sex with him. Tasker was arrested on March 2, after traveling to a location where prosecutors allege he had made plans to meet a 14-year-old girl for sex. Tasker had been communicating online with an undercover police office posing as the teenage girl. Following his arrest, police officers executing a search warrant of Tasker’s residence found an “enormous amount of controlled substances” packaged for sale and distribution, including marijuana and hallucinogenic mushrooms. Tasker, a 30-year-old Republican from Nottingham, was first elected to the State House in 2010, and served on the Committee on Children and Family Law.
 
The Kentucky House of Representatives remains under Democratic control after the party won three of the four special elections held on Tuesday, March 8. Jeffery Taylor won the 8th District seat in Western Kentucky, Chuck Tackett was elected to fill the 62nd District seat, and former circuit judge Lew Nicholls was victorious in the 98th District special election. Daniel Elliott, who won the District 54 race, was the sole Republican to win. Had Republicans managed to sweep the four races, the chamber would have been split evenly at 50 seats for each party. The Kentucky House remains the only legislative chamber in the Southern United States that is not under Republican control.
 
Washington Lieutenant Governor Brad Owen announced he will not seek reelection this year to the office he has held for nearly two decades. Owen, a Democrat who was first elected Lieutenant Governor in 1996, has served under Governors Gary Locke, Christine Gregoire, and Jay Inslee. Before becoming Lieutenant Governor, Owen served six years in the Washington House of Representatives and 14 years in the Washington Senate. Four candidates have already filed for the race to replace Owen as Lieutenant Governor, include State Senators Karen Fraser and Cyrus Habib, House Speaker Pro Tempore Jim Moeller, and businessman Javier Figueroa. The primary election will be held on August 2.
 
Corpus Christi, TX – Michael Hunter has been appointed to sit on the City Council in Corpus Christi.  He replaces Lillian Riojas, who resigned on February 24, 2016.  Hunter will serve the remainder of the term, through November 2016.
 
Santa Fe, NM – Newly elected City Council Members Renee Villarreal and Mike Harris were sworn into office this week.  They replace Patti Bushee and Bill Dimas who did not run in the municipal election.  Incumbents Peter Ives and Chris Rivera were re-elected to the City Council.
 
Topeka, KS – Tim Wayne has been appointed Acting Fire Chief in Topeka.  He replaces Greg Bailey, who retired.  Wayne is the former Deputy Fire Chief in Goodyear, AZ.
 
Medford, MA – Mayor Stephanie Burke has appointed Jenn Dever Wood as her Chief of Staff, effective April 4, 2016.  She had previously served as Chief of Staff to Michael Sullivan, former Mayor of Cambridge, MA.
 
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority – Starting in April 2016, Therese McMillan will serve as the Transit Authority’s new Chief Planning Officer. McMillan is currently Acting Administrator of the Federal Transit Administration, part of the U.S. Department of Transportation.  She replaces Martha Welborne, who resigned in January 2016.
 
Wayne County, MI – County Treasurer Richard Hathaway announced this week that he will resign effective April 8, 2016. After his departure, current Chief Deputy Treasurer Eric Sabree will serve as Interim Treasurer until a permanent replacement can be found.
 
Suffolk County, NY – Timothy Sini was sworn in as the County’s new Police Commissioner. Sini, a former Federal Prosecutor, takes over for retired Police Commissioner Edward Webber.

 

 

 
March 3, 2016

This Week: Democrats win special elections in Massachusetts 

Democrats were victorious in each of the three special elections held Tuesday, March 1, to fill vacancies in the Massachusetts House of Representatives. Peabody City Councilor Thomas Walsh defeated Republican Stephanie Peach to fill the vacant Twelfth Essex District seat. The win adds an extra seat to the Democrats’ overwhelming majority in the House, as the district was formerly represented by Republican Leah Cole. Stephan Hay narrowly defeated Dean Tran, a fellow member of the Fitchburg City Council, to replace Stephan DiNatale in the Third Worcester District seat. Gerry Cassidy had no Republican challenger in his effort to replace Michael Brady in the Ninth Plymouth District.
 
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie appointed Robert Lougy to serve as Acting Attorney General within the state’s Department of Law and Public Safety. Lougy is currently First Assistant Attorney General and previously served as Chief of Staff to outgoing Acting Attorney General John Jay Hoffman. Lougy will begin his new position on March 14. New Jersey is one of five states in which Governor appoints the Attorney General.
 
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announced a major overhaul of his communications team on Thursday, February 25. Snyder appointed Ari B. Adler, the former press secretary to House Speaker Jase Bolger, to replace Meegan Holland as Communications Director. Holland has been reassigned as Special Projects Manager in the Office of the Governor. Snyder also announced that Press Secretary Dave Murray will be transferred to the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development, where he will serve as Communications Director. Snyder did not name a replacement for Murray.  It is unclear whether these recent changes have anything to do with the ongoing water crisis in Flint, Michigan. New York, NY – Rafael Salamanca was elected to the New York City Council in a special election this week.  He replaces former Bronx District 17 Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo, who resigned on December 31, 2015.
Portsmouth, VA – Dwayne V. Bonnette has been hired as the new Fire Chief in Portsmouth, effective March 14, 2016.  Bonnette replaces Beck Barfield, who has served as Chief since 2013. Also, Tonya Chapman was sworn in as Portsmouth’s Police Chief.  Chapman had previously served as Deputy Chief of Police in Richmond, VA.
 
Houston, TX – Kenneth Huewitt was appointed Interim Superintendent of the Houston Independent School District.  Huewitt has been serving as Deputy Superintendent and Chief Financial Officer since 2012.  He replaces Terry Grier who retired after serving as Superintendent for six years.
 
Atlanta, GA – Mayor Kasim Reed has appointed Christopher Hicks as Director of the Mayor’s Office of Film and Entertainment.  Hicks is a former music industry executive having served as Executive Vice President of Island Def Jam Records and a Senior Vice President of Warner/Chappell Music, Inc.  He succeeds LaRonda Sutton, who held the position from 2013-2016.
 
Charlotte, NC – City Manager Ron Carlee has announced that he will retire effective March 31, 2016.  Carlee has served as City Manager since 2013 and also had served as County Manager in Arlington County, VA.
 
Decatur, AL – Nadis Carlisle was sworn in as Interim Chief of Police in Decatur.  Carlisle is a 25 year veteran of the Police Department.  He replaces Ed Taylor, who retired, having served as Chief since 2011.
 
New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo appointed Justin Bernbach as Chief Government Affairs and Community Relations Officer at the MTA. Mr. Bernbach has previously served as Northeast Director of Government Relations at HNTB and Managing Director of State and Community Affairs for American Airlines.
 
Cuyahoga County, OH – Dave Wondolowski was sworn in as a Democratic member of the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections. Wondolowski is Executive Secretary for the Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council.  He replaces Eben McNair who has served as a board member since 2007.
 
Frederick County, MD – County Executive Jan Gardner has appointed Rick Harcum as Budget Director for Frederick County. Current Acting Budget Director Kelly Weaver was named Assistant Budget Director.

 

 

February 25, 2016

This Week: State legislators Barbara Clark (NY) and Debbie Smith (NV) pass away

New York Assembly Member Barbara Clark passed away on Monday, February 22, at the age of 76. Clark, a Democrat, had served as the representative for District 33 in Queens since 1987. She had also been serving as Deputy Majority Whip since 2011. In a statement, Governor Andrew Cuomo called Clark “an outspoken advocate on issues affective schools and working families in her district and across New York.” Governor Cuomo has not yet set a date for the special election to fill Clark’s vacant seat. 

Democratic Nevada State Senator Debbie Smith passed on Sunday, February 21 in Reno following a year-long battle with a brain tumor. Smith served in the State Assembly from 2000 to 2002, and then again from 2004 to 2012. She left the lower chamber after being elected to represent District 13 in the Nevada Senate. Smith was also serving as Assistant Minority Floor Leader. Smith’s death was followed by an outpouring of sympathy from a bipartisan collection of state leaders. Democratic U.S. Senator Harry Reid referred to Smith as “the epitome of an ideal neighbor, friend and public servant.” Republican Governor Brian Sandoval called her “an extraordinary public servant whose record of accomplishments and presence in the Nevada Legislature will remain unmatched in the years ahead.”  

Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin made a series of appointments to his administration. Rodney Ballard has been named Commissioner of the Department of Corrections, and will replace outgoing agency head LaDonna Thompson on March 14. Ballard is currently Director of Community Corrections at Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government. Bevin also named attorney Ben McKown as Inspector General of the state’s Transportation Cabinet.

 New York, NY – Rafael Salamanca was elected to the New York City Council in a special election this week.  He replaces former Bronx District 17 Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo, who resigned on December 31, 2015.

Portsmouth, VA – Dwayne V. Bonnette has been hired as the new Fire Chief in Portsmouth, effective March 14, 2016.  Bonnette replaces Beck Barfield, who has served as Chief since 2013. Also, Tonya Chapman was sworn in as Portsmouth’s Police Chief.  Chapman had previously served as Deputy Chief of Police in Richmond, VA.
 
Houston, TX – Mayor Sylvester Turner has appointed Martha Montalvo as Interim Chief of Police.  She replaces Charles McClelland who retired after a 39 year career, including serving as Chief since 2010.  Montalvo is a 30 year veteran of the Houston Police Department, having previously served as Executive Assistant Chief.
 
Philadelphia, PA – Mayor Jim Kenney has appointed Benjamin Lerner as Deputy Managing Director for Criminal Justice, a new position.  Lerner is a former Philadelphia Common Pleas Court Judge.

Henrico County, VA – The Henrico Economic Development Authority made changes to its leadership this week. B. Anthony Hall was promoted to Deputy Director from his previous position as Director of Marketing. Twyla Powell was newly hired as the Authority’s Business Attraction Manager. 

Tulare County, CA – Charlie Norman was sworn in as the County’s new Fire Chief on Tuesday. Norman had previously served as Chief of Emergency Services. Jeff McLaughlin has been appointed to succeed him in that role.

 

 

February 18, 2016

This Week: Hawaii's Governor appoints Kaialii "Kai" Kahele to State Senate 

Kathleen Kane, Pennsylvania’s scandal-ridden Attorney General, announced in a press conference on Tuesday, February 16, that she will not be seeking reelection to a second term this November. The news did not come as a huge surprise: February 16 was the filing deadline date and Kane had made little effort to establish a reelection campaign. At her press conference, Kane stated she was innocent of pending legal charges of perjury and obstruction of justice. She also noted that she held a double-digit lead against each of her three challengers for the Democratic nomination: Stephen Zappala, Josh Shapiro, and John Morganelli. Earlier this week, a Pennsylvania Senate vote to remove Kane from office fell short by four votes. The Pennsylvania House of Representatives is now considering whether or not to begin impeachment proceedings against Kane.

Missouri State Representative Don Gosen resigned from office on Wednesday, February 17, under suspicious circumstances. In a statement, the Chesterfield Republican announced he would be leaving the legislature immediately to “focus on my family.” Gosen’s resignation was followed by a statement from House Speaker Todd Richardon, who alluded that Gosen had been asked to resign due to an impropriety on his part. Avoiding specific details, Richardson said, “At the beginning of this year, I said the action of this body would not be defined by a few. I was serious then, and I am serious now.” Gosen had been elected to the Missouri House of Representatives three times, and had been serving as Chair of the Insurance Committee since 2011. His District 101 seat is currently vacant.

Hawaii Governor David Ige appointed Kaialii “Kai” Kahele to fill the State Senate seat left vacant by his late father’s recent death. Kahele, a member of the Hawaii Air National Guard and a combat veteran, was administered the oath of office by Chief Justice Mark Recktenwald on Wednesday, February 17. His father, Gil Kahele, had represented District 1 in the Hawaii Senate since January 2011. Kahele is a member of the Democratic Party and will serve until a special election is held on November 8 of this year to fill the remaining two years of the term.

Boston, MA – Mayor Martin Walsh has appointed William Morales as Commissioner of the Boston Centers for Youth and Families, effective March 7, 2016.  Morales previously served as Executive Director of the Boston YMCA.  He replaces Christopher Byner, who had been serving as Interim Commissioner.

Flint, MI – Mayor Karen Weaver has replaced the Fire Chief and Police Chief in Flint.  Stephen Cobb was appointed Interim Fire Chief, replacing David Cox. Colin Birnie was appointed Interim Police Chief, replacing James Tolbert.  In addition, Natasha Henderson was fired as City Administrator.  The Mayor will make permanent appointments to these positions.

Delaware River Port Authority – Pennsylvania State Treasurer Timothy Reese has appointed Osagie Imasogie to the Port Authority Board of Commissioners. The Board is made up of 16 members, eight appointed from Pennsylvania and eight appointed from New Jersey. Imasogie serves as the Treasurer’s representative to the Board.

San Bernardino County, CA – County Auditor-Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector Larry Walker announced that he will retire on March 5, 2016. Assistant County Auditor-Controller/Treasurer/Tax Collector Oscar Valdez has been appointed to replace Walker and will serve the remainder of the term, through the end of 2018.

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority – Deputy General Manager of Operations Rob Troup resigned his position this week. Assistant General Manager for Transit Infrastructure and Engineering Andrew Off will temporarily take over the position until a new organizational structure is announced.

 

 

February 11, 2016

This Week:  New Jersey's John Jay Hoffman leaves office to join Rutgers Univ.

New Jersey’s Acting Attorney General John Jay Hoffman will be leaving his position next month to serve as Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Rutgers University. Hoffman was appointed to the role of Acting Attorney General by Governor Chris Christie in June 2013 when his predecessor, Jeffrey Chiesa, was appointed to replace the late Frank Lautenberg in the U.S. Senate. Hoffman was only expected to serve as Attorney General until Kevin O’Dowd, the Governor’s official nominee for the post, was confirmed. However, the scandal over lane closures on the George Washington Bridge effectively killed O’Dowd’s nomination, leaving Hoffman as Acting Attorney General for the past two and a half years.
 
Indiana Lieutenant Governor Sue Ellspermann announced this week that she would be resigning to apply for the position of President of Ivy Tech Community College. In response, Governor Mike Pence announced he will nominate Eric Holcomb to replace Ellspermann as both Lieutenant Governor and as his running mate for his reelection campaign. Although Ellspermann has not yet been offered the job at Ivy Tech, she is resigning from her Lieutenant Governor position now so Holcomb’s nomination can be confirmed by the Indiana Legislature before the 2016 session ends in mid-March. Holcomb is the former Chairman of the Indiana Republican Party and the former Chief of Staff in the Indianapolis Office of U.S. Senator Dan Coats. He has withdrawn from his campaign for the Republican nomination to replace Coats in the U.S. Senate.
 
Republicans were victorious in two special elections held on Tuesday, February 9, to fill vacant seats in the Minnesota Legislature. Jim Abeler was elected to replace Branden Petersen as representative for Senate District 35 in the northern part of the Twin Cities metropolitan area. Abeler served in the Minnesota House from 1999 to 2015 and ran an unsuccessful campaign for the U.S. Senate in 2014. Chad Anderson won a close race in the Minnesota HouseDistrict 50B special election, pulling in 51.2 percent of the votes against Democratic-Farmer-Labor nominee Andrew Carlson. The seat was previously held by DFL member Ann Lenczewski.
 
Trenton, NJ - Public Works Director Jacqueline Foushee has announced her resignation, effective February 19, 2016.  Her announcement follows complaints regarding streets that were not plowed in the recent snowstorm, and a harassment and discrimination complaint filed by a city employee.
 
Santa Clara, CA – One day after the city hosted Super Bowl 50, Santa Clara Mayor Jamie Matthews announced his resignation, citing his intention to spend more time with his family.  Vice Mayor Teresa O'Neill will preside over City Council proceedings until an Interim Mayor is appointed.
 
Dayton, OH – Shelley Dickstein was sworn in as the permanent City Manager in Dayton.  She had been serving as Interim City Manager, replacing Warren Price who resigned in September 2015.
 
Houston, TX – Police Chief Charles McClelland has announced that he will retire effective February 26.  McClelland is a 39 year veteran of the Houston Police Department, having served as Chief since 2010.
 
Jefferson County, CO – Kate McIntire has started as Public Engagement Director for the County. McIntire previously worked for the Colorado Water Conservation Board, specializing in outreach, public engagement, and media relations. McIntire reports directly to County Manager Ralph Schell.
 
Montgomery County, MD – Dr. Jack Smith was chosen as Superintendent for Montgomery County Public Schools, pending contract negotiation. Dr. Smith is currently Interim State Superintendent of Schools in Maryland. Provided negotiations are successful, he will take over for current Interim County Superintendent Larry A. Bowers on July 1, 2016.
 
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport – Last week, the Airport Board of Directors elected Sam Coats as Board Chair and Bill Meadows as Vice Chair. The board also swore in new member Amir Rupani.
 
Miami-Dade County, FL – Juan Perez was sworn in as Police Director for Miami-Dade County last week. Perez has served in the County Police Department for over two decades, most recently as Deputy Director.  He replaces J.D. Patterson, who retired after a 30 year career with the department.


 

February 4, 2016

This Week: New York nominated a Secretary of State

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo nominated former newspaper editor Rossana Rosado to serve as the state’s next Secretary of State. Rosado was Publisher and Chief Executive Officer of El Diario/La Prensa, the largest circulating Spanish-language newspaper in New York City, from 1999 to 2013. If confirmed by theNew York State Senate, Rosado will replace current Secretary of State Cesar Perales, who is retiring from the position after serving since 2011. The 75-year-old Perales will not completely leave public service, however; Governor Cuomo nominated him to serve as a member of the Empire State Development Board of Directors.
 
Less than a month into his first term, new Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards is continuing to make appointments to his cabinet and his immediate office staff. Edwards named Marketa Garner Walters as the new Secretary of the Department of Children and Family Services, and Leslie Durham was named the Governor’s Designee to the Delta Regional Authority, a joint federal and state agency. At the Department of Natural Resources, Thomas F. Harris has been named Secretary, and former Attorney General Richard Ieyoub was named Commissioner of the Office of Conservation. Governor Edwards also named Noble Ellington as his Legislative Director and former television journalist Shauna Sanford as his Press Secretary.
 
California Governor Jerry Brown has appointed Keely Bosler to serve as the state’s Cabinet Secretary. Bosler has spent the last three years as Chief Deputy Director of Budget at the state’s Department of Finance, and was a staffer at the California State Senate prior to that. In this position, Bosler will serve as the official to whom agency secretaries report. Bosler is replacing Dana Williamson, who is leaving the administration to open her own firm.
 
Cities and Towns:
Modesto, CA – Ted Brandvold defeated incumbent Garrad Marsh in a runoff election held this week for the position of Mayor.  Brandvold will be sworn into office in late February 2016.
Green Bay, WI – Andrew Smith was sworn in as Police Chief in Green Bay.  He replaces Tom Molitor, who retired in 2015.  Smith is a 27 year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department.
Allentown, PA – City Council Member Jeff Glazier has been appointed Controller for Allentown.  He replaces Mary Ellen Koval, who resigned in January, following an FBI investigation into campaign financing.  The City Council will appoint a successor to fill the remainder of Glazier’s term.
New York, NY – Mayor Bill de Blasio has appointed Julie Menin as Commissioner for the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, effective late February 2016.  She replaces Luis Castro, who has been serving as Acting Commissioner.  Menin has been serving as Commissioner of New York City’s Department of Consumer Affairs since 2014.
Philadelphia, PA – Mayor Jim Kenney has appointed Thomas A. Farley as Health Commissioner at Philadelphia’s Department of Public Health.  Farley had served as Commissioner for New York City’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for five years.  He replaces James Buehler.
 
Counties and Authorities:
Ocean County, NJ – Virginia “Ginny” Haines was sworn in last week as Freeholder for Ocean County, replacing Freeholder James Lacey, who retired on January 1, 2016. Haines will serve the last year of Lacey’s term, ending on December 31, 2016.
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Washington, DC - Councilmember Jack Evans was elected Chairman of the Board of Directors. Evans takes over for Mortimer Downey III, who declined a second year-long term as Chairman.
Santa Clara County, CA – Katherine Harasz was chosen as permanent Executive Director of the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Clara. Harasz had served as Interim Executive Director since July of 2015.

 

January 28, 2016

This Week: Retired firefighter wins seat in Texas House of Representatives
 
Republican John Lujan won a special election held Tuesday, January 26, to represent San Antonio-area District 118 in the Texas House of Representatives. Lujan, a retired firefighter, won 52.4 percent of the vote in the historically-Democratic district. Lujan’s opponent in the race was Democratic nominee Tomas Uresti, brother of State Senator Carlos Uresti. The election was held to replace Joe Farias, who resigned in August of last year. The celebration may be short-lived for Lujan; he will have to win a primary election held on March 1 if he wants to continue to represent the district for the two-year term beginning in January 2017.
 
Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy made two high-profile appointments within the state’s Department of Labor. Scott Jackson has been appointed Commissioner of the agency effective February 3. He will replace Sharon Palmer, who resigned at the end of 2015. Jackson is currently Under Secretary for Intergovernmental Policy within the Office of Policy and Management, and served as Mayor of the City of Hamden from 2009 to 2015. The Governor also appointed Kurt Westby to serve as the department’s Deputy Commissioner. Westby, a consultant to labor union SEIU, will begin his new position of February 15.
 
New Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin continued to make appointments to his immediate staff. Bevin has named Nate Haney as Deputy Secretary of the Executive Cabinet and Bryan Sunderland as Legislative Director. Haney most recently served as Managing Partner and Owner of trucking and transportation company Haney and White Enterprise, and also served as Chair of the Jefferson County Republican Party. Sunderland is the former Senior Vice President of Public Affairs at the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce.
 
Atlanta, GA – The Board of Directors of Invest Atlanta voted unanimously to appoint Eloisa Klementich as the permanent President and CEO of Atlanta’s economic development authority.  Klementich had been previously serving as Interim President and CEO, as well as the Managing Director of Business Development.
 
Columbus, OH – Mitchell J. Brown was appointed as a member of the Columbus City Council.  He replaces Eileen Paley, who resigned for a position with the Franklin County Municipal Court.  Brown had previously served as the Director of Public Safety in Columbus.
 
Memphis, TN – Mayor Jim Strickland has appointed Michael Rallings as the new Interim Director of Memphis Police Services, effective February 1, 2016.  Rallings replaces Toney Armstrong, who is resigning for a position with the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.  Rallings started with the Memphis Police Department in 1990, having served as Deputy Chief since 2009.
 
New Orleans, LA – Mayor Mitch Landrieu has appointed Ryan Berni as Deputy Mayor for External Affairs.  He replaces Emily Arata who left in early January.  Berni has worked for the Mayor since 2010, having served as Press Secretary.
 
Erie County, NY – Thomas Quatroche was chosen by the Erie County Medical Center Board of Directors as the Organization’s permanent Chief Executive Officer. Quatroche has been with the Medical Center for eleven years, most recently serving as President. His appointment is effective immediately.
 
Broward County, FL – Broward Health Chief Executive Officer Dr. Nabil El Sanadi passed away this past weekend. The Broward Board of Health will choose a successor.

Westchester County, NY – James McCarty was appointed acting District Attorney. McCarty takes over for previous District Attorney Janet DiFiore, who was approved as a Chief Judge for the New York Court of Appeals last week.

 


January 21, 2016

This Week:  Which political party will gain control of the West Virginia Senate?
 
The West Virginia Supreme Court heard oral arguments on Tuesday, January 19, in a case that will decide whether or not the Republican Party keeps control of the West Virginia Senate. The issue at hand is over which political party gets to fill the vacant District 9 Senate seat, recently vacated by State Senator Daniel Hall. In the instance of a legislative vacancy, state law dictates that the political party which held the seat shall make recommendations to the governor for a replacement. Daniel Hall was elected to a four-year term in 2012 as a Democrat, but switched his party affiliation to the Republican Party in 2014. Hall’s party switch changed the balance of the Senate from an even 17-all split to a narrow 18-16 lead for the Republican Party, marking the first time since the 1930s that the party controlled the chamber. Attorneys for the Democratic Party and for Governor Earl Ray Tomblin argued that the seat should be given to a Democrat to uphold the will of the voters who elected Hall. Republican Party attorneys countered by arguing that District 9 voters cast their ballot for Hall, rather than the Democratic Party, and the voters therefore trusted his decision to switch parties. If the Court agrees with the Republicans, the party will maintain their majority and will likely be able to pass a contentious right-to-work bill. The Court has barred Governor Tomblin from issuing an appointment until they reach a decision.
 
North Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard announced the appointment of Catherine Duenwald to serve as the state’s Chief Hearing Examiner. As head of the state’s Office of Hearing Examiners, which is part of the Bureau of Administration, Duenwald will conduct administrative hearings and issue decisions for residents who have the right to a hearing before a state agency. Duenwald previously served as General Counsel for the Bureau of Administration. She is replacing Hillary Brady, who passed away earlier in 2016.
 
Delaware Governor Jack Markell has appointed Patrick Gilliam-Johnson to serve as the state’s next Secretary of the Department of Labor. Gilliam-Johnson has served as Chairperson of Wilmington University’s Organization Dynamics Program, which focuses on social and psychological elements of organizational behavior. Gilliam-Johnson holds a Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. She is filling the vacancy created by the recent retirement of John McMahon.
 
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder appointed Julie Secontine to serve as State Fire Marshal. In this role, Secontine will lead the Bureau of Fire Services within the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs. Secontine previously served as Risk Manager for Oakland County, Michigan. She is replacing Acting State Fire Marshal Mike Deprez.
 
Corpus Christi, TX – Mike Markle was sworn in as permanent Police Chief in Corpus Christi.  He had been serving as Interim Chief since May 2015.  Markle replaces Floyd Simpson, who died in May 2015.
 
Salt Lake City, UT – Newly elected Mayor Jackie Biskupski has appointed Mike Reberg as Director of the Department of Public Utilities, effective February 1, 2016.  Reberg currently serves as the Director of Animal Services in Salt Lake City.
 
Newton, MA – David MacDonald was sworn in as the new Chief of Police in Newton.  He replaces Howard Mintz who retired.  MacDonald is a 20 year veteran of the Newton Police Department.
 
Santa Clara Valley Water District– Chief Executive Officer Beau Goldie retired last week after thirty one years with the Water District. Until an interim replacement can be found, the position will be filled on a rotating basis by other members of executive management, starting with Chief Operating Officer Jim Fiedler.
 
Pierce County, WA– Acting Communications Director Ron Klein was also appointed Interim Deputy County Executive this week. He will continue to fill both rolls until a new Communications Director can be hired. Klein will serve as Interim Deputy County Executive for the rest of County Executive Pat McCarthy’s term, which expires at the end of 2016.

Jackson County, MO – Frank White was sworn in as Jackson County Executive. White takes over for Mike Sanders, who has served as County Executive for the past nine years and resigned to spend more time with his family. White’s term as County Executive will last until the end of the year, with the winner of a special election in November taking over for the last two years of Sanders’ unexpired term.

 

 

January 14, 2016

This Week: First Democrat in 25 years wins Senate election in north Tulsa County 
 
Members of the California State Assembly elected Anthony Rendon to serve as the next Speaker of the Assembly in a vote held on Monday, January 11. Rendon, a Los Angeles County Democrat, will take the reins from current Speaker Toni Atkins on March 7. If he holds onto his seat, Rendon could potentially be Speaker for nine years before reaching his term limit in the Assembly.
 
North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory announced two cabinet-level appointments on Thursday, January 7. Jeff Epstein was appointed Secretary of the Department of Revenue. Epstein has served as the department’s Chief Operating Officer for three years, and previously served as Interim Secretary when his predecessor Lyons Gray was on medical leave. Governor McCrory also appointed Drew Heath to be State Budget Director at the Office of State Budget and Management. Heath has served as Chairman of the North Carolina Industrial Commission since 2013. He is replacing Lee Roberts, who is returning to the private sector.
 
J.J. Dossett, a schoolteacher and political newcomer, was elected to represent Oklahoma Senate District 34 in a special election held Tuesday, January 12. Dossett, 31, is the first Democrat to win election in the north Tulsa County district since 1990. He earned 56 percent of the votes cast to defeat Republican nominee David McLain. The special election was held to replace Rick Brinkley, who resigned in August after pleaded guilty to federal charges of embezzlement. Despite the victory, Democrats will be outnumbered in the Senate by a margin of 39-9 when the legislative session begins next month.
 
New Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin continued to make appointments to his administration. On Friday, January 8, Bevin appointed Adria Johnson to serve as Commissioner of the Department for Community Based Services. Johnson has been the department’s Deputy Commissioner for four years and also served as Director of the Department of Community Services and Revitalization for the Metropolitan Government of Louisville.
 
New York, NY – Mayor Bill de Blasio has appointed Lisette Camilo as Commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services.  She replaces Stacey Cumberbatch, who will take a position with the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation.  Camilo had previously served as Director of the Mayor’s Office of Contract Services since 2014.
 
Denver, CO – Cary Kennedy, Denver’s Chief Financial Officer is resigning, effective February 11, 2016.  She has been serving as CFO since 2011.  Mayor Michael Hancock has appointed current Budget Director Brendan Hanlon as the next Chief Financial Officer.
 
Pittsburg, PA – Mayor Bill Peduto has appointed Wendell Hissrich as Pittsburg’s new Public Safety Director.  He replaces Stephen Bucar, who resigned in September 2015.  Hissrich is a 25 year veteran of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. 
 
San Bernardino, CA – Current San Bernardino Police Chief Jarrod Burguan has been appointed Interim City Manager, until February 8, 2016.  Mark Scott will then serve as City Manager of San Bernardino.  Scott formerly served as City Manager for Burbank, CA, since 2013.
 
Bergen County, NJ – The Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders held their reorganizing meeting last week and elected Steven Tanelli as Chairman for the 2016 session.  Tanelli replaces David Ganz, who remains a member of the Board of Chosen Freeholders.
 
Marin County, CA – Mary Hao has been chosen as the County’s next Human Resources Director. Hao will take over in February for Assistant County Administrator Angela Nicholson, who has been filling the position in an acting capacity since May 2015.

Henrico County, VA – Police Chief Douglas Middleton announced this week that he will retire on January 23, after 43 years with the Police Department and five years as its leader. After his retirement, Chief Middleton will serve in the County Manager’s office as Deputy County Manager for Public Safety. Chief Middleton will also continue to serve in the role of Police Chief until a replacement is hired.

 

 

January 7, 2016

This Week:  MDEQ Director resigns over drinking water issues in Flint, MI

Montana Governor Steve Bullock appointed former Secretary of State Mike Cooney to serve as Lieutenant Governor. Cooney, who also served a combined 11 years in the Montana House of Representatives and the Montana Senate, served three terms as Secretary of State from 1989 to 2001. Cooney began serving in his new role on January 4, 2016, and will remain in office until his term expires in January 2017. He is the third Lieutenant Governor to serve alongside Governor Bullock.  John Walsh was elected as Lieutenant Governor in 2012, but resigned the office in February 2014 after being appointed to the U.S. Senate. Bullock then appointed high school teacher Angela McLean to replace Walsh. McLean announced in December that she would step down as Lieutenant Governor to take a position at the Montana University System.

 
With less than a week remaining before his inauguration, Louisiana Governor-Elect John Bel Edwards made a series of appointments to his Cabinet and staff. Dr. Rebekah Gee will serve as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Chuck Brown will head the Department of Environmental Quality, and Jim Waskom will lead the Governor’s Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. Outgoing State Senator Robert Adley was named Executive Director of the Louisiana Offshore Terminal Authority. Edwards has agreed to retain a number of officials appointed by outgoing Governor Bobby Jindal, including Secretary of the Department of Public Safety and Corrections James LeBlanc and State Fire Marshal Butch Browning. Jeanne Johnston will serve as Edwards’ Senior Policy Advisor, and Alicia Williams was named Senior Special Assistant to the Governor.
 
Dan Wyant, Director of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ), resigned last week following the release of a report alleging the agency failed to respond properly to complaints of increased lead in the City of Flint’sdrinking water. A preliminary report from the Flint Water Advisory Task Force, established by Governor Rick Snyder in October, found that the MDEQ took a “minimalist approach” in regulating drinking water and was dismissive of public concerns. Gov. Snyder appointed Keith Creagh to replace Wyant as Interim Director of MDEQ. Dr. Bill Moritz will take over Creagh’s former position as Director of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.
 
Bellevue, WA - The City Council of Bellevue held their reorganizing meeting and elected John Stokes as Mayor for the 2016 session.

Charlottesville, VA - The City Council of Charlottesville, VA held their reorganizing meeting and elected Mike Signer as Mayor for the 2016 session.
 
Kenner, LA – City Council President Michael Sigur was appointed Acting Mayor for the city of Kenner. Sigur replaces Mike Yenni, who resigned following his election as Parish President in Jefferson Parish, LA.  On July 1, 2016, City Council Member Dominick Impastato will take over Acting Mayor duties from Sigur until an election is held in November 2016 to complete the full term of Mayor of Kenner.
 
New York, NY – Mayor Bill de Blasio has appointed Herminia Palacio as Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services, effective January 25, 2016.  Palacio served as Executive Director of the Harris County, TX Public Health and Environmental Services Department, coordinating health services for evacuees from New Orleans during hurricane Katrina.
 
Bergen County, NJ – County Prosecutor John Molinelli stepped down last Friday after fourteen years in office. Gurbir Grewal has succeeded him as Acting County Prosecutor, until a replacement can be formally appointed by Governor Christie and approved by the State Legislature. Also in Bergen County, the Board of Chosen Freeholders held their reorganization meeting this week, selecting Freeholder Steven Tanelli as Chairman and Freeholder Tracy Zur as Vice Chairwoman.
 
Erie County, NY – Michael Flaherty was sworn in as Acting District Attorney for Erie County. Flaherty succeeds Frank Sedita, who won the election last November for State Supreme Court Justice. Flaherty will continue as acting District Attorney until a replacement can be elected next November.

Harris County, TX – County Commissioner El Franco Lee passed away last weekend, leaving his Precinct 1 seat vacant. County Judge Ed Emmet will appoint a replacement for the remaining year of his current term. As the filing deadline for the November 2016 elections has passed and Lee would have run unopposed, county Democratic leaders will choose someone to fill his next four year term as well.

 

 

December 28, 2015

This Week:  Keith Warner selected as CIO in North Carolina's Dept. of Technology

Following the resignation of Chris Estes back in November, Keith Werner stepped in to serve in an Acting Capacity as the North Carolina Chief Information Officer.  On December 18, 2015, Governor Pat McCrory announced the selection of Werner to serve as a permanent Chief Information Officer of the North Carolina Department of Technology. Werner starts his new role with more than 20 years’ experience with a background in information technology, product development, business development, and service delivery.  He previously served as Chief Information Officer for the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.
 
On December 17, 2015, Mayor Muriel Bowser selected Michelle Garcia to serve as the Administrator of the Office of Victim Services and Justice Grants. Ms. Garcia comes to the Mayor’s office from the Stalking Resource Center at the National Center for Victims of Crime where she has served as the Director since 2006. She has an extensive background advocating for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. In Ms. Garcia’s new position her responsibilities will extend to oversight of coordination funds for crime victims, crime prevention, and justice improvement.

On December 22, 2015, Executive Director Robert Stresak appointed Stephanie Scofield as the Assistant Executive Director of the Field Services Division of the Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission. Stephanie started out as a Law Enforcement Consultant for the commission back in 2008. Ms. Scofield has a background in law enforcement that includes serving for 12 years in the Pleasanton Police Department and two years within the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

 Los Angeles, CA – Michelle King has been appointed Interim Superintendent of Los Angeles Unified School District.  She replaces Ramon Cortines, until a permanent Superintendent is hired.

Niagara County, NY – Keith McNall was elected Chairman of the Niagara County Legislature, effective January 5, 2015.  He replaces William L. Ross, who did not seek re-election to the County Legislature.
 
Cuyahoga County, OH - Melissa Kline was appointed the next Chief Nursing Officer of MetroHealth, the County’s health system. Kline replaces Mavis Bechtle, who was promoted to Chief Hospital Clinical Officer.
 
Hamilton County, OH - County Commissioner Greg Hartmann has resigned his seat on the commission.   The County Republican Central Committee will appoint a successor to finish out the last year of Hartmann's term.

 


December 17, 2015

This Week: New Mexico Governor names Brad Winter as state's Secretary of State

Six months after stepping down from his position as New York Senate Majority Leader following an arrest for federal corruption charges, Dean Skelos was convicted on all charges and forced to resign his Senate seat. A federal jury delivered a guilty verdict against Skelos and his son, Adam, on Friday, December 11, following a six-week trial. Less than two weeks earlier, former Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was also found guilty of corruption charges and likewise expelled from the state legislature. Both indictments were issued by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who has quickly built a reputation for rooting out public corruption in the Empire State.  

New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez has named Brad Winter to serve as the state’s Secretary of State. Winter is currently serving his fourth term as a member of the Albuquerque City Council, and will remain serving in that body until his term as Secretary of State ends in January 2017. Winter is replacing Dianna Duran, who resigned in October after pleading guilty to charges she misused campaign contributions. Duran will begin a 30-day jail sentence in January.

Celeste Plumlee was sworn in as the newest member of the Arizona House of Representatives on Tuesday, December 15. The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors appointed Plumlee to represent District 26, which covers parts of Tempe and Mesa. Plumlee, a Democrat, will replace Andrew Sherwood, who was appointed to the Senate earlier this month. Plumlee is a social worker and an advocate for survivors of sexual and domestic violence.

Houston, TX – The city held runoff elections for Mayor, Council and Controller this week.  Sylvester Turner was elected Mayor and will be sworn in on January 4, 2016.  New City Council Members include Karla Cisneros, Amanda Edwards, Steve Le, and Mike Knox.  Incumbents Mike Laster, David Robinson and Jack Christie were re-elected. Chris Brown won the runoff election for City Controller.

Philadelphia, PA – Mayor-elect Jim Kinney continues to make appointments to his upcoming administration.  This week, he announced the following: Sozi Pedro Tulante will serve as City Solicitor; Samantha Phillips will continue to serve as Director of the Office of Emergency Management; Christine Knapp will serve as Director of the Office of Sustainability; and Eva Gladstein will serve as Deputy Managing Director for Children and Families.

Salt Lake City, UT – Mayor-elect Jackie Biskupski has announced that Patrick Leary will serve as Chief of Staff in the Mayor’s office.  Biskupski will be sworn into office on January 4, 2016.

Cincinnati, OH – Eliot Isaac was sworn in as Cincinnati’s permanent Police Chief.  Isaac had been serving as Interim Chief since September 2015.  Isaac replaces Jeffrey Blackwell, who was fired, after serving as Chief since 2013.

Gilbert, AZ – Mayor John Lewis will resign in summer 2016, when he will serve as President and CEO of the East Valley Partnership, a nonpartisan civic coalition. 

Oxnard, CA – Bryan Brice was sworn in as Oxnard’s new Fire Chief.  He replaces Jeri Williams, Oxnard’s Police Chief, who temporarily ran the Fire Department during the recruiting process.  Brice previously served as a Division Chief in Lake Forest, CA.

Yolo County, CA – County Clerk-Recorder/Registrar of Voters Freddie Oakley announced that she will retire at the end of the year. Mrs. Oakley will join the Clinton Campaign after her retirement. The county Board of Supervisors will appoint a successor to complete the remaining three years of her current term.

Arlington County, VA – The County Board appointed Jessica Tucker as County Auditor. Tucker is currently a Deputy Auditor in Fairfax County, and will assume the new position in January. 

Monmouth County, NJ – New Jersey Governor Christie has appointed Mary Desarno as Supervisor of Elections for Monmouth County. Desarno is currently a Commissioner on the County’s Board of elections. Her appointment is pending approval by the state legislature.

 

 

December 10, 2015

This Week: Director of OK Department of Corrections resigns amid scandal 

Louisiana’s Democratic Governor-Elect John Bel Edwards is following through on his promise to build a bipartisan cabinet. On Monday, December 7, Edwards appointed one Republican and one former Democratic staffer to high-level positions responsible for solving the state’s budget woes. Current Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne, a Republican who ran for Governor against Edwards in the race’s open primary, will serve as Commissioner of the Division of Administration. Dardenne made waves when he broke party ranks to endorse Edwards in his runoff against Republican David Vitter. Edwards also appointed attorney Kimberly Lewis Robinson to serve as Secretary of the Department of Revenue. Robinson is a partner at Baton Rouge law firm Jones Walker and served as a Special Counsel to former Democratic Governor Kathleen Babineaux Blanco.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has appointed a member of his immediate staff to serve as the head of the state’s human services agency. Emily Johnson Piper will begin work as the Commissioner of the Department of Human Services on December 14. Piper is currently Deputy Chief of Staff and General Counsel in the Office of the Governor, and previously served as Deputy Commissioner and Chief of Staff at the Minnesota Department of Commerce. She will replace Lucinda Jesson, who left the department on Monday, December 7, after being appointed to the Minnesota Court of Appeals.

Robert Patton, the Director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, will resign from his position at the end of January. Patton’s resignation comes amidst an investigation into a series of botched executions administered by the department. During his April 2014 execution, inmate Clayton Lockett spent 43 minutes on the gurney after being administered a lethal injection before eventually being pronounced dead, and was witnessed convulsing, groaning, and attempting to speak during that time span. In September of this year, prison officials delayed Richard Glossip’s execution hours before it was scheduled to occur after realizing they did not have the correct drugs. An autopsy of inmate Charles Warner also revealed that he had been administered incorrect drugs in his January 2015 execution. In a statement commenting on Patton’s resignation, Governor Mary Fallin avoided mentioning the investigation, but said, “I appreciate Robert Patton’s efforts to keep our state prisons safe for both correctional officers and inmates.”

Downey, CA – The City Council held their reorganizing meeting and elected Alex Saab as Mayor.  He replaces Luis Marquez, who remains a member of the City Council.

West Covina, CA - The City Council held their reorganizing meeting and elected James Toma as Mayor for the 2016 session.  He replaces Frederick Sykes, who did not seek re-election.

Concord, CA - The City Council held their reorganizing meeting and elected Laura Hoffmeister as Mayor.  She replaces Tim Grayson, who remains a member of the City Council.

Fullerton, CA - The City Council held their reorganizing meeting and elected Jennifer Fitzgerald as Mayor.  She replaces Greg Sebourn, who remains a member of the City Council.

Huntington Beach, CA - The City Council held their reorganizing meeting and elected Jim Katapodis as Mayor.  He replaces Jill Hardy, who remains a member of the City Council.

Lewiston, ME – Incumbent Mayor Robert Macdonald defeated Ben Chin in a runoff election held on December 8, 2015.  Macdonald will serve as Mayor for the next two years.

Lafayette, LA – Police Chief Jim Craft has announced that he will retire from the Department effective January 31, 2016.  Craft started his career with the Police Department in 1977, having served as Chief since 2007.

Erie County, NY – Daniel Rizzo was approved as the new Commissioner of Parks, Recreation, and Forestry this past week. He will start in early 2016. Rizzo currently serves as Deputy Public Works Commissioner. 

Chicago Transit Authority – Senior Vice President David Kowalski resigned last week. Kowalski had been scheduled to retire at the end of the year, but left early at the request of CTA President Dorval Carter after controversial emails written by Kowalski were leaked to the media.

 

 

December 3, 2015

This Week:  Chicago's Police Superintendent fired following release of video

The newly-elected governors of Kentucky and Louisiana have been busy assembling staff for their upcoming administrations. Matt Bevin, the Governor-Elect of Kentucky, has hired a number of staffers to hit the ground running once he is sworn in on Tuesday, December 8. Bevin named Andrew McNeill as Senior Advisor to the Governor. McNeill was Chief of Staff to former Secretary of Commerce Jim Host and also served as Executive Director of the Kentucky Office of Energy Policy. Bevin also named John Chilton to serve as State Budget Director and Chad Meredith as Deputy General Counsel. Louisiana Governor-Elect John Bel Edwards will not take office until January 11, but he has already set up a transition team to lay the groundwork for his future administration. Leading the transition team is outgoing State Senator Ben Nevers, who will serve as Edwards’ Chief of Staff after the inauguration. The transition team currently has six members, including State Senator Sharon Weston Broome, Monroe Mayor James Mayo, and Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand.

Republicans won each of the three special legislative elections held in Georgia on Tuesday, December 1. In the Senate District 43 runoff election, Republican JaNice Van Ness defeated Democrat Tonya Anderson. The metro-Atlanta area District 43 was previously represented by Democrat Ronald Ramsey, who resigned earlier this year after being appointed to the Dekalb County Traffic Court.  Senator-Elect Van Ness is a former member of the Rockdale County Board of Commissioners.  In the House District 122 runoff, Republican Jodi Lott defeated fellow GOP candidate Mack Taylor. Lott replaces Ben Harbin, who resigned to become a lobbyist for Southern Strategy Group. In Senate District 20, Republican Larry Walker won 52 percent of the vote in the six-person race to replace Ross Tolleson. By winning a majority of the vote, Walker avoided having to enter a runoff with the second-place finisher.

California Assembly Member Henry Perea has announced he will resign at the end of 2015. Perea, who has represented the Fresno County area District 31 since December 2010, is seen as the unofficial leader of the Democratic caucus’s moderate bloc. Perea has not yet announced exactly what his next job will be, but has said he intends to work in government relations at the State Capitol.

Chicago, IL – Mayor Rahm Emanuel fired Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, following the release of a video where a police officer shot and killed a teenager.  Mayor Emanuel has appointed current First Deputy Superintendent John Escalante as Acting Superintendent of the Chicago Police Department.  Escalante is a 29 year veteran of the Chicago Police Department.  Mayor Emanuel also created a task force of seven appointed law enforcement experts to advise him and the City Council on ways to improve the Police Department.

Philadelphia, PA – Mayor-elect Jim Kenney has made appointments to his upcoming administration, including: Chief of Staff Jane Slusser; Deputy Mayors Deborah Mahler, Richard Lazer, Nina Ahmad, and Jim Engler; Chief Administrative Officer Rebecca Rhynhart; and Police Commissioner Richard Ross.

Juneau, AK – Recently elected Mayor Greg Fisk died this week.  Fisk had defeated incumbent Mayor Merill Sanford in the October 6 municipal election.  Current Deputy Mayor and Council Member Mary Becker is serving as Acting Mayor of Juneau.

New York, NY – City Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo has announced that she will resign from the City Council effective December 31, 2015.  She has served as Council Member since 2005.

Washington Metropolitan Transportation Authority – Paul Wiedefeld assumed his role as General Manager and Chief Executive Officer for WMATA. The leadership change comes after nearly a year-long search.  Wiedefeld replaces Jack Requa, who had been serving as Interim General Manager.

New Castle County, DE – County Executive Thomas Gordon chose Timothy Mullaney as the county’s new Chief Administrative Officer. This follows the sudden departure of former county Chief Administrative Officer David Grimaldi, who left in October 2015.

Chatham County, GA – Roy Harris was sworn in as Chatham County Sheriff last week, following the death of Sheriff Al St. Lawrence. Harris will serve as Sheriff until a special election is held. 

Fulton County, GA – Gary Stiles was sworn in as Fulton County Chief of Police last week. Stiles has been with the Police Department for three decades, and has served as Interim Chief since April 2015.

 

 

November 19, 2015

This Week:  New report highlights grievances in Alaska's prison system 

Alaska Governor Bill Walker announced that Walter Monegan would serve as the new Interim Commissioner of the state’s Department of Corrections. His predecessor, Ronald Taylor, resigned Sunday, November 15 following the release of a 20-page report documenting systemic failures within the 1700 employee agency that may have led to inmate deaths. Two investigators spent three months gathering material for the report, which concluded that prisons were understaffed, that employee misconduct often went unpunished, and that jails were overburdened from holding drunken people rather than alleged criminals. Monegan has five years of experience as Chief of the Anchorage Police Department, and was Commissioner of Alaska’s Department of Public Safety from 2006 to 2008.

The Republican Party’s hope of getting a supermajority of the Mississippi House of Representatives will come down to the drawing of straws. The District 79 election held on November 3 resulted in a tie between Democratic incumbent Blaine Eaton and Republican challenger Mark Tullos, with both candidates receiving 4,589 votes. Mississippi state law dictates that the winner of a tied election must be decided by a game of chance. The candidates have agreed to draw straws on Friday under the supervision of Governor Phil Bryant and Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann to determine a winner. Eaton, listed first on the ballot, will reach into a bag and grab one of two boxes. If his box contains a “long green straw”, he will be declared the winner. However, if Tullos grabs the box with the straw, his victory will give Republicans control of 74 of the 122 seats in the House, which gives them a three-fifths majority and the ability to pass tax and other bills without cooperation from the Democratic Party.

Judith Sachwald, the Director of Maryland’s Division of Parole and Probation, has announced she will step down after only eight months on the job. Sachwald announced her decision to return to criminal consulting work in an e-mail to her staff. Joseph F. Clocker, the division’s current Deputy Director, will replace Sachwald as Acting Director on December 1, 2015. 

Salt Lake City, UT – The election results from the November 3 municipal elections were certified this week.  Former Utah State Representative Jackie Biskupski was declared the winner, over incumbent Ralph Becker.  Biskupski will be sworn in on January 1, 2016.

Charleston, SC – The city held runoff elections this week, electing John Tecklenburg as the new Mayor.  He replaces Joseph P. Riley, who did not run in the general election.  City Council incumbents F. Gary White and James Lewis also won in the runoff elections.

Miami, FL – Ken Russell won a runoff election this week, to replace incumbent City Council Member Marc Sarnoff.  Sarnoff chose not to run in the general election held November 3, 2015.

Columbia, SC – The city held runoff elections for two positions on the City Council.  Ed McDowell and Howard Duvall were elected to the City Council.  The will replace Cameron Runyan, who was defeated, and Brian Newman, who decided not to run in the general election.

San Diego, CA – Brian Fennessy was hired as the new Chief of the San Diego Fire Rescue Department this week.  He replaces Javier Mainar, who retired.  Fennessy joined the Department in 1990, previously serving as Assistant Chief of Operations.

Brevard County, FL - The County Commission of Brevard County chose Jim Barfield to succeed Robin Fisher as Chairman.  Fisher remains a member of the Commission.

Broward County, FL - Martin Kiar was chosen by the Board of County Commissioners as the next county Mayor.  He replaces Tim Ryan, who remains on the Commission.

Palm Beach County, FL - The Board of County Commissioners elected Mary Lou Berger as county Mayor.  She succeeds Shelley Vana, who remains a member of the Commission.

Lee County, FL - Frank Mann took over the role of County Chairman from Brian Hamman. John Manning was also elected Vice Chair of the Board.  Hamman remains a member of the Board.

 

 

November 12, 2015

This Week: Kentucky's Governor-Elect Matt Bevin appoints transition team

With less than a month remaining before he is sworn in to office, Kentucky Governor-Elect Matt Bevin has drawn from a pool of state legislators, Tea Party activists, and former state officials to create his transition team. Leading the team is J. McCauley Brown, of the Brown-Forman distilleryLouisville attorney Kristen Webb-Hill will serve as Transition Director. Republican State Representative Tom Kerr has been named as the transition team member in charge of economic development, while Tea Party activist John Hodgson was named Budget and Operations Director. General Counsel John RoachPersonnel Director Tom Stephens, and Communications Director Jessica Ditto all held positions in the administration of Ernie Fletcher, the last Republican to serve as Governor of Kentucky. Bevin will begin his four-year team on December 8, 2015.

On Tuesday, November 10, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin appointed Melissa McLawhorn Houston to serve as the state’s Commissioner of Labor until January 2019. Houston is filling the remainder of the term previously held by former Labor Commissioner Mark Costello, who was murdered in August. She currently serves as Chief of Staff of Attorney General Scott Pruitt, and was previously Chief of Staff of the Oklahoma Office of Homeland Security for nine years. Houston will start at the Department of Labor by December 1, 2015.

Colorado Lieutenant Governor Joe Garcia announced he will be leaving state government sometime next year to take a new position in higher education. Garcia has been named President of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, a nonprofit based in Boulder. Garcia is currently serving in his second term as Lieutenant Governor under current Governor John Hickenlooper, and also dual-hats as Executive Director of the state’s Department of Higher Education. Before running for office in 2010, he served as President of Colorado State University-Pueblo and Pikes Peak Community College. Garcia is expected to transition into his new position in mid-2016.

Dallas, TX – Dallas City Attorney Warren Ernst has announced that he will retire in Spring 2016.  Ernst joined the City Attorney’s office in 2003 and was appointed City Attorney in 2013.Philadelphia, PA – Mayor-elect James Kenney has announced that Richard Ross will serve as Police Commissioner effective January 7, 2016.  He replaces Charles Ramsey, who is retiring after serving eight years as Commissioner.  Ross is a First Deputy Commissioner for Field Operations with the Philadelphia Police department.

Raleigh, NC – Darnell Smith was named as the new Chief Information Officer for the city of Raleigh, effective January 4, 2016.  Smith replaces Beth Stagner, who has been serving as Interim Chief Information officer.  Smith comes to the position from the Elster Group in Raleigh, where he served as Vice President of the Information Technology Group.

Vacaville, CA – Kris Concepcion has been hired as the new Fire Chief in Vacaville.  He replaces Frank Drayton, who retired in June 2015.  Concepcion had previously served as a Division Chief in the Yorba Linda, CA Fire Department. 

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority – The WMATA Board of Directors has named Paul Wiedefeld as the Authority’s next General Manager and Chief Executive Officer. Wiedefeld had previously served as CEO of Baltimore/Washington International Thrugood Marshall Airport and as Administrator of the Maryland Transit Administration. The Board of Directors will formalize his appointment during their next meeting on November 19, 2015.

Metropolitan Water District of Southern California – Compton, CA Mayor Pro Tem Janna Zurita became the city’s representative on the Board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California this week. Zurita replaces Yvonne Arceneaux, who had served on the board since 2014.

 

 

November 5, 2015

This Week:  First African American wins statewide race in Kentucky's history

It was a successful election day for the Republican Party, as they swept a pair of gubernatorial races in two southern states. In Kentucky, Tea Party favorite Matt Bevin was elected to replace Democrat Steve Beshear, who was unable to run due to term limits. Bevin defeated Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway by a comfortable margin of 52.5 percent to 43.8, even though pre-election day polls showed the race being tied. Bevin’s running mate Jenean Hamptonmade history by becoming the first African American to win a statewide race in Kentucky’s history. Bluegrass Democrats did have a few things to smile about as Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes narrowly won reelection over Republican Stephen Knipper, and Andy Beshear, son of the current governor, was elected as Attorney General over Whitney Westerfield. Compared to the highly-contested races in Kentucky, the Mississippi gubernatorial election was an afterthought for most of the national media. Incumbent Governor Phil Bryant cruised to reelection by picking up more than double the votes of his Democratic opponent Robert Gray, a truck driver with no prior political experience. Incumbents were victorious in the seven other state-wide elections held in Mississippi. Attorney General Jim Hood was the only Democrat in that group, but he managed to fend off a challenge from Republican Mike Hurst.

Four states held legislative elections on Tuesday, but none were as hard-fought as Virginia’s. Democrats were unable to turn a single State Senate district from red to blue and Republicans managed to cling on to their slim 21-19 majority in the upper chamber. The most tightly-contested State Senate races focused on two issues - guns and tolls. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s group Everytown for Gun Safety spent a combined $2.2 million to help Democrats win two races being vacated by retiring Republicans. The group also ran ads featuring Andy Parker, the father of the television reporter who was killed on-air last August. Republicans held on to both seats. In the key District 29 race to replace retiring Democrat Charles Colgan, Republicans blasted Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s proposal to make parts of Interstate 66 a toll road during peak hours. Despite these attacks, Democrat Jeremy McPike was able to keep the seat in the blue column. Democrats had more success in the House of Delegates, where they managed to pick up one seat and eliminate the Republican supermajority. Heading into the next legislative session, Republicans will hold a 66 to 34 advantage in the lower chamber. 

Texas State Auditor John Keel announced he will resign from his position on January 4, 2016. Keel was appointed State Auditor in December 2004 by the Texas Legislative Auditor Committee. Keel has spent 35 of the last 42 years working within the Texas state government, including a ten-year stint as Director of the Legislative Budget Board.  

Philadelphia, PA – Jim Kenney was elected Mayor of Philadelphia.  He will be sworn in as Mayor on January 4, 2016.  Kenney was a former Philadelphia City Council Member who resigned in January 2015 to run for mayor.  He replaces Michael Nutter who could not run again due to term limits.

Akron, OH – Daniel Horrigan was elected Mayor of Akron, effective January 1, 2016.  He replaces Jeff Fusco, who was appointed Mayor in June 2015.  Horrigan had previously served on the Akron City Council.

Charlotte, NC – Jennifer Roberts was elected Mayor of Charlotte and will be sworn in on December 7, 2015.  She replaces Dan Clodfelter, who was appointed Mayor in April 2014.

Flint, MI – Karen Weaver was elected Mayor of Flint and will be sworn in on November 9, 2015.  She defeated incumbent Dayne Walling in election.

Alexandria, VA – Allison Silberberg was elected Mayor of Alexandria, effective January 1, 2016.  She defeated incumbent Mayor Bill Euille.  Euille originally lost in the June democratic primary election and ran a “write-in” campaign.

Monroe County, NY – Current County Clerk Cheryl Dinolfo was elected County Executive. Ms. Dinolfo will resign from her current position and assume office as County Executive in January 2016. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo will appoint a replacement County Clerk to finish out the term through December 31, 2016.

Snohomish County, WA– Dave Somers was elected County Executive, defeating incumbent John Lovick. Somers will take office on January 4, 2016.

New Castle, DE–Chief Administrative Officer David Grimaldi was fired suddenly this past week. County Executive Tom Gordon has not named a replacement.

 

  

October 29, 2015

This Week:  Former NM Secretary of State accepts plea bargain to avoid prison

Republican U.S. Senator David Vitter and Democratic State House Leader John Bel Edwards will face off in a runoff next month to see who will replace Bobby Jindal as Louisiana’s next Governor. The gubernatorial race was the highlight of October 24’s unique “jungle primary”, in which voters can vote for any candidate from either party, and provided no candidate receives a majority of the vote, the top two vote-getters face each other in a runoff.  Edwards received 40 percent of the vote and Vitter claimed 23 percent in Saturday’s election, with Public Service Commissioner Scott Angelle and Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne, both Republicans, coming in third and fourth place respectively. Vitter led in head-to-head polls against Edwards for most of the summer, but has lost his lead amid recent allegations of character issues. A private investigator with connections to the Vitter campaign was arrested the day before the primary on a charge of criminal mischief after being caught secretly recording a conversation among a group of Vitter’s political rivals. A week before the election, a local blogger posted an interview in which a former prostitute alleged Vitter fathered her child and pressured her to have an abortion. In the race to replace Dardenne as Lieutenant Governor, Baton Rouge Mayor Kip Holden, a Democrat, and former Plaquemines Parish President Billy Nungesser, a Republican, were the top two finishers. Incumbent Attorney General Buddy Caldwell will have to face fellow Republican Jeff Landry in his bid for win a third term in office. These three statewide runoffs will take place on November 21.

New Mexico Secretary of State Dianna Duran resigned from office on Thursday, October 22, immediately before accepting a plea deal that will likely keep her out of prison. Duran was charged with 65 counts of corruption, fraud, and embezzlement earlier this year. As part of her deal, she pled guilty to four misdemeanors and two felony charges, and faces a recommended sentence of five years of supervised probation, a $14,000 restitution fine, and a ban from handling public funds. Duran, a Republican, was elected to office in 2010 and reelected four years later. Deputy Secretary of State Mary Quintana will serve as Acting Secretary until New Mexico Governor Susana Martinezappoints a successor.

Duran is not the only embattled state constitutional officer who could soon be out of a job. The Pennsylvania Senate has created a bipartisan committee to make recommendations on removing Attorney General Kathleen Kane from office. Last August, Kane was charged with nine criminal counts, including perjury. Six weeks later the Pennsylvania Supreme Court suspended her law license. The Senate committee will decide whether or not to use an obscure constitutional provision, requiring approval of the Governor and two-thirds of the Senate, to remove a public official from their seat. The committee will be chaired by Republican John Gordner. Additional members are Republicans Lisa Baker and Gene Yaw, and Democrats Art Haywood, Judy Schwank, and Sean Wiley. 

Rochester, NY – Rochester City School District Superintendent Bolgen Vargas has resigned effective December 31, 2015.  He has been serving as Superintendent since 2012.  Daniel Lowengard will serve as Interim Superintendent effective January 1, 2016.  Lowengard is a former Superintendent of the Syracuse School District and the Utica City School District.

Suffolk, VA – Patrick Roberts was sworn in as the permanent City Manager in Suffolk.  He had been serving as Interim City Manager since May and as Deputy City Manager since 2008.  He replaces Selena Cuffee-Glenn, who resigned for a position as the Chief Administrative Officer in Richmond, VA.

Jefferson Parish, LA – Michael S. Yenni was elected Parish President, effective January 6, 2016.  He replaces John Young, who ran for Lieutenant Governor of Louisiana. Yenni is currently the Mayor of Kenner, LA.  He will resign as Mayor, prior to his swearing in as Jefferson Parish President.

Bernalillo County, NM – Metropolitan Detention Center Chief Phillip Greer resigned this week after less than a year in office. Greer cited personal reasons in his resignation letter. Deputy County Manager Thomas Swisstack will serve as Interim Chief until a permanent replacement can be found. 

 

 

October 22, 2015

This Week:  Margie Bright Matthews to fill the South Carolina Senate seat of the late Clementa Pinckney

Democrat Margie Bright Matthews won a special election on Tuesday, October 20, to a fill the South Carolina Senate’s vacant District 45 seat. Matthews, a Walterboro attorney who has never before held public office, took 88.5 percent of the vote against Republican challenger Al Fernandez’s 11.5 percent. The seat was previously held by the late Clementa Pinckney, one of the nine people killed in the shooting at Charleston’s Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church last June. During her victory speech, Matthews told her supporters, “This victory is for him. It is for the Pinckney family, and I will never forget the sacrifice that Senator Pinckney and his family have made.” Matthews’ term will expire in November 2016.

Utah State Treasurer Richard Ellis announced his resignation from public service last week. Ellis will be stepping down from his position as the Beehive State’s top finance official to start a new job with the Utah Educational Savings Plan. Ellis, a Republican, was first elected to the State Treasurer post in 2008 and reelected four years later. In a press release announcing the move, Governor Gary Herbert praised Ellis for his service and “fiscal discipline.” Richard Ellis will leave the Office of the State Treasurer on November 1, 2015.

Michael L. Williams, the Commissioner of the Texas Education Agency, announced he will step down from his position at the start of 2016. In a letter to Governor Greg Abbott, Williams cited the toll of commuting 200 miles from his office in Austin to his home in Arlington every weekend as a major part of his decision to step down. Former Governor Rick Perry appointed Williams as head of the TEA in September 2012 after he waged an unsuccessful campaign for the Republican nomination in Texas’ 25th Congressional District. Williams held positions at both the U.S. Department of the Treasury and the U.S. Department of Education during the George H.W. Bush presidential administration. In 1998, then-Governor George W. Bush appointed Williams to the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates the oil, gas, propane, and pipeline industry, where he served for twelve years. Governor Abbott is tasked with appointing a new successor to replace Williams at the TEA.

Baltimore, MD – The Baltimore City Council approved the appointment of Kevin Davis as permanent Police Commissioner.  Davis had been serving as Interim Commissioner since July.  He had previously served as Chief of Police for the Anne Arundel County, MD Police Department and as Assistant Chief of Police with the Prince George’s County, MD Police Department.

Denver, CO – Mayor Michael Hancock has appointed Patrick Firman as the new Sheriff of Denver.  He replaces Gary Wilson, who resigned in 2014.  Firman had previously served as Deputy Chief of Corrections with the McHenry County, CO Sheriff’s Office.

San Jose, CA – Mayor Sam Liccardo has hired David Low as the new Public Information Officer for San Jose.  He replaces Michelle Young, who left after three months with the Mayor’s office.  Low previously served as the Deputy Communications Director for former San Jose Mayor Chuck Reed.

Juneau, AK – Greg Fisk defeated incumbent Mayor Merrill Sanford and was sworn in as Mayor of Juneau.  Fisk is a newcomer to politics and Sanford had served as Mayor since 2012.

Broward County, FL – Nicki Grossman, longtime president of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau, announced her retirement this week. Grossman will continue to serve in her position until her official retirement, set for June 1, 2016.  She has served as President since 1995.

 

 

October 15, 2015

This Week: Arizona Governor makes appointments to Insurance and Revenue Departments

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey made a handful of high-level appointments this week to the state’s insurance and revenue departments. On Thursday, October 8, he appointed former House Speaker Andy Tobin to serve as the new Director of the Arizona Department of Insurance. Tobin had been serving as head of the state’s Department of Weights and Measures, which will be consolidated into other state agencies later this year. On Friday, October 9, Ducey appointed a new duo to lead the state’s Department of Revenue. David Briant was named Director of the Department, where he will replace David Raber, a holdover from former Governor Jan Brewer’s administration. Carlton Woodruff, who was Ducey’s deputy in the State Treasurer’s Office, was named Deputy Director of DOR.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon announced a leadership change at the state’s top health agency on Friday, October 9. Gail Vasterling, the Director of the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services, will be leaving her post to become General Counsel at the Department of Mental Health. Vasterling has been as DHSS since 2013, when she was named Deputy Director of the agency. Nixon has named Peter Lyskowski to replace Vasterling as the Acting Director of DHHS. Lyskowski, who will start his new assignment on October 19, currently serves as Deputy Chief of Staff to Governor Nixon.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan appointed two new members to the state’s House of Delegates on Friday, October 9. Elizabeth Proctor was appointed to fill the seat previously held by her late husband James Proctor, who passed away in September at the age of 79. Proctor, a Democrat, will represent District 27A, which covers parts of Charles and Prince George’s Counties. Governor Hogan also named Carlo Sanchez as the new Delegate for District 47B in Prince George’s County. Sanchez, also a Democrat, will replace the recently resigned William Campos. Both Proctor and Sanchez were recommended to the Governor by the Democratic Central Committees in their respective counties. Maryland is one of eleven states in which legislative vacancies are filled via gubernatorial appointment.

Cities and Towns:

Memphis, TN – Council Member Jim Strickland defeated incumbent Mayor A C Wharton in the municipal election held October 8.  Six incumbents were re-elected to the city council, with another six elections advancing to a runoff election.  Newly elected city council members are Mantavius Jones and Philip Spinosa.

Philadelphia, PA – Police Commissioner Charles Ramsey has announced that he will retire on Januar 7, 2015.  He has been serving as Commissioner since 2008.  The next mayor, who will be elected in November 2015, will select Ramsey’s successor.  Current Mayor Michael Nutter is not running, due to term limits.

Detroit, MI – Detroit’s Executive Fire Commissioner Ed Jenkins has retired effective October 16, 2015.  He has served as Commissioner since 2014.  Mayor Mike Duggan has appointed former Detroit Assistant Police Chief Eric Jones as Interim Commissioner.

Cleveland, OH – Angelo Calvillo has been appointed Interim Chief of Cleveland’s Fire Department.  He replaces Pat Kelly who retired earlier this year.  Calvillo is a 26 year veteran of the Fire Department, most recently serving as Battalion Chief.

Counties and Authorities:

Miami-Dade, FL – Franklin Sirmans started this week as Director of the Pérez Art Museum Miami. Sirmans most recently served as Head and Curator of Contemporary Art for the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.

Corpus Christi, TX – The Board of Directors for the Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority voted to appoint interim Chief Executive Officer Jorge Cruz-Aedo to the position, permanently.  Previously, Cruz-Aedo served as Managing Director of Administration for the Corpus Christi Regional Transportation Authority and an Assistant City Manager for the city.

Hillsborough County, FL– Sam Rashid resigned his position on the Hillsborough County Aviation Authority Board this week at the request of Governor Rick Scott.

 

 

October 8, 2015

This Week:  Troubles continue for Alabama Governor Robert Bentley

The Indiana House Republican caucus voted on Tuesday, October 6, to name Matthew Lehman as their new Floor Leader. Lehman replaces Jud McMillin, who unexpectedly resigned from office last month following a bizarre sexting scandal. Lehman, who represents District 79 in northeastern Indiana, had served as Deputy Speaker Pro Tem and Chair of the House Insurance Committee, but has stepped down from both positions to focus on being Majority Floor Leader. Even with McMillin’s recent resignation, Republicans hold a supermajority in the Indiana House by filling 70 of the chamber’s 100 seats.

The Chief of Staff to embattled Alabama Governor Robert Bentley announced this week that he would be resigning his position to join the private sector. Hammett, who served alongside Gov. Bentley while both were members of the Alabama House of Representatives, was appointed Chief of Staff in 2014. Bentley appointed Deputy Chief of Staff Administration Blake Hardwich and Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy Jon Barganier to serve as part of a new “leadership team” to run the Governor’s Office following Hammett’s departure on October 16. Bentley has faced criticism recently over the state’s budget crisis, as well as reports of an extramarital affair that led to the dissolution of his marriage.

The head of New Jersey’s transportation department will resign from public office at the end of this month while he is being investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for ethics law violations. Jamie Fox, who was named Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Transportation in September 2014, is under federal inquiry for allegedly using his influence to institute a United Airlines flight route that landed closer to a friend’s home.  Fox is also being investigated for not recusing himself from a closed-door meeting that discussed United Airlines, a company which he previously lobbied for. Governor Chris Christie announced Fox’s departure in a press release on Friday afternoon, and named Deputy Commissioner Joseph Bertoni as the acting replacement. The timing of the announcement has raised questions as to whether Fox’s resignation was voluntary or if he was dismissed.

Montgomery, AL – The city held run-off elections this week for four positions on the city council.  Incumbent David Burkette was re-elected to another four year term.  Newcomers William A. Green, Brantley W. Lyons and Fred Bell also won election to the council.  The four members will be sworn in on November 10, 2015.

St. Louis, MO – Sheila Sweeney has been appointed as the permanent Chief Executive Officer for the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership.  She had been serving as Interim CEO since January 2015.  Sweeney had founded and was President of S.M. Sweeney and Co., as well as serving as Chairman of the Board of the St. Louis County Port Authority.

Fort Worth, TX – Joel Fitzgerald has been named the new Chief of Police, effective October 19, 2015.  He replaces Rhonda Robertson, who has been serving as Interim Chief since November 2014.  Fitzgerald comes to Fort Worth from Allentown, PA, where he had served as Chief of Police.  

Allentown, PA A– Shannon Calluori has been appointed Director of the Bureau of Planning and Zoning.  She previously served as Operations Manager for Allentown’s Community and Economic Development Department.  Calluori replaces Mike Heferle, who retired.  Also in Allentown, Assistant Chief Keith Morris will serve as Interim Chief of Police, effective October 18, 2015.  Morris replaces Joel Fitzgerald, who is resigning to serve as Chief of Police in Fort Worth, TX.

Los Angeles County, CA – Monique King-Viehland has been appointed to serve as Deputy Executive Director of the Community Development Commission for Los Angeles County. King-Viehland is currently Director of Housing and Economic Development Department in Trenton, NJ. She starts her new position on November 2, 2015.

Los Angeles County, CA– This past week the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to appoint Interim Chief Executive Officer Sachi Hamai to the position permanently. Hamai has held the position since last December, following the retirement of longtime Chief Executive Officer William Fujioka

 

 

October 1, 2105

This Week: Indiana House leader resigns amid cell phone video scandal

Jud McMillin, the Majority Floor Leader of the Indiana House of Representatives, unexpectedly resigned from office on Tuesday, September 29, after a sexually explicit video was sent out from his cell phone. The Brookville Republican sent another bizarre mass text later, which stated that his phone had been stolen while he was in Canada, and asked his contacts to “disregard any messages you received recently.” McMillin was serving his third term in the state legislature, and was elected by his caucus to serve as party floor leader last November. Speaker of House Brian Bosma announced that the Republican caucus will vote on a new floor leader in a matter of days. As of this time, it is unclear what the video contained or who sent it out, but local media sources including the Indianapolis Star and the Indianapolis Business Journal have reported that it is sexual in nature. This is the second sexting scandal to strike a member of the Indianapolis House this year. In March, adult film actress Sydney Leathers revealed she had exhanged sexts from Democratic State Representative Justin Moed, who was engaged at the time.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley and his wife Dianne have officially settled their divorce. The couple, who married in 1965, have been separated since January and filed for divorce in August. Dianne has given up her duties as First Lady. Her profile was removed from the Alabama state government website, and all references to her were deleted from Governor Bentley’s online biography. While both parties have refused to speak to the press about the reasons behind the split, several local bloggers have published allegations that the Governor had an extramarital affair with a former staffer.

Troy Dillard, the head of Nevada’s Department of Motor Vehicles, will be resigning from his position later this month. Dillard was appointed as Director of the DMV in 2012 after having served as Deputy Director of the department for one year and Chief Compliance Officer for seven years. Dillard began working for the State of Nevada in 1988. He has served as part of five gubernatorial administrations representing both political parties. His final day in office is October 23.

Nashville, TN – Newly sworn in Mayor Megan Barry made appointments to her staff this week:  Jon Cooper, Director of the Law Department; Elease Waller, Executive Assistant to the Mayor; Claudia Huskey, Senior Advisor to the Mayor; Sean Braisted, Press Secretary; and Mark Macy as Acting Public Works Director.

Louisville, KY – Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has appointed Yvette Gentry as Chief of Community Building.  Gentry previously served as Deputy Chief with the Louisville Metro Police Department.

Anchorage, AK – Mayor Ethan Berkowitz has appointed Chris Tolley as the next Police Chief, effective October 2015.  Tolley is serving as Acting Deputy Chief during his transition period.  He replaces Mark Mew who is retiring. Tolley had previously served as a Special Agent-in-Charge in the Anchorage office of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

San Antonio, TX – William McManus has been hired as Police Chief effective October 5, 2015, pending City Council approval.  McManus had previously served as San Antonio’s Police Chief from 2006-2014, when he retired.  He has also worked in law enforcement in Minneapolis, Dayton and the District of Columbia.

Lee County, Florida – Lee County School District Superintendent Susan Graham announced her resignation this week, effective December 21, 2015.  Her resignation follows recent concerns about the handling of investigations into bullying in the County’s schools. The school board will appoint a replacement.

 

 

September 24, 2015

This Week:  Retired Army Colonel to serve as Director of Ohio DVA

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has selected Philip James Degnan to serve as the state’s next Comptroller.Degnan is currently Executive Director of the State Commission of Investigation, an independent agency created in 1968 to combat organized crime and government waste. Degnan was chosen to replace Marc Larkins, who resigned from the State Comptroller position in August following a controversy over the hiring of a friend. Degnan worked as a federal prosecutor under Chris Christie when the latter was the U.S. Attorney for the District of New Jersey. Gov. Christie will officially nominate Degnan to his new post in October, at which point he must be confirmed by the New Jersey Senate.

Ohio Governor John Kasich has named retired Army Colonel Chip Tansill as the new Director of the Ohio Department of Veterans Affairs. Tansill has been serving as Executive Director of the Franklin County Veterans Services Commission since February, and previously spent four years as Chief of Staff of the Ohio National Guard. He was deployed to serve in the Persian Gulf conflict in 1990. Tansill is replacing Tim Gorrell, who has served as Director of the department since October 2013. 

Cyrus Habib, the first Iranian-American to be elected to a state legislature, has announced his campaign to be Lieutenant Governor of Washington. Habib, a blind Yale-educated lawyer and a Rhodes Scholar, made history in 2012 when his suburban Seattle district voted to send him to the Washington House of Representatives. Two years later, he was elected to the State Senate. Habib is challenging fellow Democrat Brad Owen, who has been Lieutenant Governor of the Evergreen State since 1997. Owen has faced ethics violations in recent years, including a fine for filing finance reports late, and he has not yet announced if he will run for what would be a sixth term as Lieutenant Governor.

Nashville, TN – Megan Barry was sworn in as Mayor of Nashville, on September 25, 2015.  She replaces Karl Dean who could not run again due to term limits.  Barry has served on Nashville’s Metropolitan Council since 2007.  

Glendale, AZ – Interim Communications Director Joe Hengemuehler has announced that he will be leaving city government on September 25, and returning to television.  Hengemuehler will serve as News Director of KOLD-TV, effective October 5, 2015.

Alexandria, VA - Emily Baker has been appointed permanent Deputy City Manager in Alexandria.  She had previously served as Acting Deputy City Manager since January, 2015.  She has held positions as City Engineer and Deputy Director of the Department of Transportation and Environmental Services in Alexandria.

Loudoun County, VA – On September 21, James Bonfils was sworn in as Loudoun County Supervisor representing Broad Run.  Bonfils fills a vacancy left by Shawn M. Williams, who resigned the position earlier this month. His term will last until January 1, 2016, when the winner of the upcoming November election will be sworn in. 

Bernalillo County, NM – The Commissioners of Bernalillo County unanimously chose Julie M. Baca to be the county’s next Manager. Baca will take over when current County Manager Tom Zdunek retires on October 2, 2015. Ms. Baca was previously a Deputy County Manager for Bernalillo. 

Southeast Pennsylvania Transportation Authority – The SEPTA Board announced that Jeffrey D. Knueppel will be the Authority’s next General Manager.  Knueppel, who is currently Deputy General Manager, will succeed current General Manager Joseph M. Casey when he retires on September 30, 2015.

 

 

September 17, 2015

This Week:  Two MN State Representatives resign from seats on Ethics Committee

John Carney, the U.S. Congressman representing Delaware’s at-large congressional district, has announced he will run for Governor in 2016. Carney is currently serving his third term in the U.S. House after spending two terms as Delaware’s Lieutenant Governor. He is the first Democrat to announce a run for the office. Former Attorney General Beau Biden was the early prohibitive favorite for the Democratic nomination in this heavily-blue state, but his death from brain cancer in May opened up the race to other candidates. State Senator Colin Bonini and retired State Trooper Lacey Lafferty will face off for the Republican nomination.

Two members of the Minnesota House of Representatives resigned from their seats on the Ethics Committee this week after a park ranger found them kissing in a parked car. State Representatives Tim Kelly and Tara Mack, both Republicans who are married to other people, were ticketed on August 25 by a park ranger in Eagan’s Lebanon Hills Regional Park for committing a nuisance. As the park ranger approached the vehicle, he noticed the two were “making out”, and recorded that Mack’s pant were “unzipped and down.” Both Kelly and Mack initially accused the park ranger of making false statements, but have since dropped those allegations and paid the fine. After meeting with Republican leadership, Kelly and Mack both agreed to give up their positions on the Ethics committee. Kelly has been replaced on the committee by Paul Torkelson, and Mack’s position as an Alternate Member is being taken by Jenifer Loon.

Russell Fry is the newest member of the South Carolina House of Representatives following a special election victory in a race where he faced no competition. Fry officially won the race to replace retired State Representative Nelson Hardwick in House District 106 on September 15, but his victory had been assured since he beat Tyler Servant in the Republican primary last month. No Democrats filed for election in the district, which covers a stretch of the Grand Strand on the state’s northeastern coast. Fry, a 30-year-old attorney, will be sworn in on Saturday, September 19.

Nashville, TN – in a runoff election held on September 10, Megan Barry was elected Mayor of Nashville, effective September 25, 2015.  She replaces Karl Dean who could not run again due to term limits.  Barry has served on Nashville’s Metropolitan Council since 2007.  The Metropolitan Council will swear in 12 new members onSeptember 25.

Baltimore, MD – Kevin Harris, Chief of Public Affairs to Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, has resigned effective September 18, 2015.  He has served in the mayor’s office for the last two years.  Harris joins the Obama administration as Deputy Communications Director for the Peace Corps.

Charlottesville, VA – Andrew Baxter has been hired as the new Fire Chief in Charlottesville.  He replaces Charles Werner who retired.  Baxter had previously served as Assistant Chief with the Henrico County Fire Department.

Dayton, OH – Shelley Dickstein has been appointed Interim City Manager in Dayton.  She replaces Warren Price who resigned after serving only eight months as City Manager.  Dickstein has served as Assistant City Manager in Dayton since 2007.

Colorado Springs, CO – Jamie Fabos has been appointed to the new position of Chief Communications Officer for the city of Colorado Springs.  Fabos has worked as a spokesperson for U.S. Olympic swimming and hockey teams.

Caddo Parish, LA – Lynn Cawthorne was sworn in September 16 as interim Parish Commissioner for District 6. Cawthorne fills a vacancy left by former Commissioner Lindora Baker, who resigned last week for personal reasons. Mr. Cawthorne will serve out the remainder of Ms. Baker’s term, which ends on December 31 and is running for a full term in November. 

Sedgwick County, KS – The Sedgwick County Commission has appointed Brigadier General Michael Scholes as the next County Manager. Scholes will take over the position from Acting County Manager Ron Holt in early November. 

St. Tammany Parish, LA – Parish Coroner Dr. Charles Preston and four other candidates were automatically elected to new terms this week when no one filed to run against them. Among the winners is new Commissioner Michael Lorino Jr., who will take over the Fourth District seat from Reid Falconer, who is not running for a new term. 

 

 

September 10, 2015

This Week: A new day dawns for Democrats in Oklahoma!

Democrat Cyndi Munson won a special election held Tuesday, September 8, to fill an Oklahoma House of Representatives seat that has been held by Republicans for decades. The 30-year-old Munson won 54 percent of votes cast to beat her Republican opponent Chip Carter in the District 85 special election. The Oklahoma City district, vacated following the death of David Dank in April, has long been a Republican stronghold, and a Democrat has not represented the seat since the 1960’s. Munson’s victory is the third time in a little over a month that Democrats have managed to flip a Republican seat in a state legislative special election. In August 11, Democrat Taylor Bennett won election to the Georgia House of Representatives in the Republican-leaning District 80, and Leanne Krueger-Brankey turned the Pennsylvania House District 161 from red to blue on August 4.

The New Mexico House of Representatives has created a new Special Committee to investigate charges filed against Secretary of State Dianna Duran. The Republican politician is facing 64 counts including embezzlement, fraud, money laundering, and campaign finance violations. The new committee includes five members from each party who will investigate the charges and make recommendations on impeachment. Duran is currently serving her second term as Secretary of State after winning reelection last November by a mere 3.2 percent.

Oregon Governor Kate Brown has hired a former Kaiser Permanente executive to serve as her Health Policy Advisor. Jeremy Vandehey joins Gov. Brown’s office after a stint as Government Relations Manager for Kaiser Permanente’s Northwest Region. He previously worked as Director of Government Affairs for the Oregon Health Authority during former Governor John Kitzhaber’s administration. His appointment is effective October 12.

Cincinnati, OH – Assistant Police Chief Eliot Isaac was appointed Interim Police Chief in Cincinnati.  He replaces Jeffrey Blackwell, who was fired this week.  Also shaking up the top ranks of the Police Department, David Bailey was appointed Interim Executive Assistant Chief and Douglas Wiesman as Interim Assistant Chief of Police.

Memphis, TN – Maura Sullivan has been appointed Acting Executive Director of the Memphis Housing and Community Development Division.  She replaces Robert Lipscomb who was fired.  Sullivan previously served as Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for the city.

Loudoun County, VA – County Supervisor Shawn Williams resigned his position this weekend after he allegedly assaulted a neighbor. The County Board of Supervisors will appoint his successor.

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority– WMATA Chief Security Officer James Dougherty resigned last week following a recent train derailment. Deputy Chief Safety Officer Louis Brown will serve as Acting Chief Security Officer until a permanent replacement is hired. 

Columbia River Public Utility District – The CRPUD Board of Directors named John Nguyen Interim General Manager. Nguyen succeeds Interim General Manager Rick Lugar, who retains his position as Customer Services Manager with the Utility District.

 

 

September 3, 2015

This Week:  N.C. State Rep Glazier resign Senate to head North Carolina Justice Center

North Carolina State Representative Rick Glazier announced Thursday, August 27, that he would be resigning from his seat in the state legislature at midnight to serve as Executive Director of the North Carolina Justice Center.Glazier was a Democrat serving his seventh term representing District 44 in Cumberland County. Local Democratic Party leaders quickly selected Fayetteville attorney Billy Richardson to take his place in the State House. This is the second stint in the State House for Richardson, who previously served two terms in the mid-1990s.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley and his wife of fifty years, Dianne, filed for divorce on Friday, August 28. The filing listed “a complete incompatibility of temperament” and “a conflict of personalities” as reasons for the divorce. Bentley has faced a series of struggles during the first year of his second term as governor, including allegations that he misused state property and funds and committed marital infidelity, as well as criticism for the state’s budget crisis. The burgeoning scandal has led Terry Dunn, a member of the Republican State Executive Committee, to call for Bentley’s resignation. Bentley was a little-known two-term State Senator when he won a surprise victory in the 2010 Republican gubernatorial primary. He was reelected to a second term as Governor in November 2014 with 64 percent of the vote.

Patricia Aho, the Commissioner of Maine’s Department of Environmental Protection, will resign from that position to work for U.S. Senator Susan Collins. Aho will serve as State Office Representative for Sen. Collin’s Augusta Office. Aho has led the Department of Environmental Protection since 2011. Her last day is September 4.  

New York, NY – Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services, Lilliam Barrios-Paoli, has announced that she will resign from the mayor’s staff, effective September 30, 2015.  She has accepted the position of Chairman of New York City’s Health and Hospitals Corporation. Ms Barrios –Paoli has served in the mayor’s office since January 2014.

Lauderhill, FL – Major Constance Stanley was appointed Acting Chief of Police in Lauderhill.  She replaces Andrew Smalling who resigned in August 2015. Ms Stanley is a 21 year veteran of the Lauderhill Police Department, serving as Major since early 2013.

Albuquerque, NM – Raquel Reedy has been appointed Acting Superintendent of Albuquerque Public Schools.  She replaces Luis Valentino, who resigned, following an investigation on questionable hiring of a deputy superintendent.  Reedy oversees elementary education at the school system.

Lubbock, TX – Greg Stevens has been appointed Chief of Police in Lubbock.  He replaces Jerry Brewer, who had been serving as interim chief for the past two months.  Stevens is a 23 year veteran of the Police Department and has served as Assistant Chief since April 2014.

Portsmouth, VA – Lydia Pettis Patton was sworn in as the new City Manager in Portsmouth, VA.  She replaces John Rowe, who was fired earlier this year.  Ms Pettis Patton had served as Deputy City Manager in Portsmouth for six years, before her retirement in 2008.

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, MA – Authority CFO Jonathan Davis announced this week that he will retire this fall. His departure is part of a recent wave of new leadership in the MBTA, which has also seen a new Interim General Manager and the establishment of a Fiscal Control Board this year.  

Caddo Parish, LA – Parish Commissioner Lindora Baker resigned this week, citing personal reasons for cutting her term short. An interim replacement will be selected in the coming weeks, with constituents voting for a permanent replacement in the November general election.

 

 

August 27, 2105

This Week:  North Dakota's Governor will not run

North Dakota Governor Jack Dalrymple made a surprise announcement on Monday by stating he will not run for reelection in next year’s race. Although North Dakota has no limits to the number of terms a Governor may serve, the 66-year-old Republican said he wanted to spend more time with his children and grandchildren after a political career that has spanned three decades. Dalrymple was first elected to the state House of Representatives in 1985, and was the Lieutenant Governor candidate in John Hoeven’s victorious 2000 gubernatorial campaign. After Hoeven was elected to the United States Senate in late 2010, Dalrymple succeeded him as Governor. His tenure in Bismarck has coincided with a tremendous period of growth for the state, which has capitalized on an oil boom to increase population by 10 percent in the last five years. Dalrymple’s absence from the race leaves a wide-open Republican primary race, with current Lieutenant Governor Drew Wrigley and Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem emerging as possible candidates. First-term U.S. Senator Heidi Heitkamp is a popular choice on the Democratic side, but she has not yet announced her plans. 

Mark Costello, the Oklahoma Commissioner of Labor, was killed on Sunday, August 23 at an Oklahoma City restaurant. Police arrested Costello’s son Christian, who allegedly stabbed his father to death while the two were having a meeting in the restaurant. Costello founded telecommunications company AMCAT before embarking on a political career. He was first elected Labor Commissioner in 2010 and was reelected with 63 percent of the vote in 2014. Costello was 59 years old at the time of his death. Governor Mary Fallin will appoint someone to fill the remainder of Costello’s term, which expires in January 2019.

Ohio State Representative Ronald Gerberry resigned from office after pleading guilty to a misdemeanor count of mishandling campaign fund. The 62-year-old Youngstown-area Democrat acknowledged he had overpaid political vendors to make it appear as if he had spent the money, and then had the money returned to him as a refund. Gerberry had represented District 59 since 2007, and had previously served in the Ohio House of Representatives from 1982 to 2000. The House Democratic caucus will vote on a replacement for Gerberry at a later date.

Detroit, MI – Dan Austin has been appointed Deputy Communications Director in Mayor Michael Duggan’s office, effective mid-September.  Austin previously worked as a Copy Editor for the Detroit Free Press, and is an avid Detroit historian.

Huntsville, AL – Huntsville’s Director of the Public Works Department, Terry Hatfield, has announced that he will retire on September 1, 2015.  Hatfield has nearly 40 years of service with the city, serving as Public Works Director since 2008.  Mayor Tommy Battle has appointed Chris McNeese as the next Director.

St. Petersburg, FL – Public Works Administrator Michael Connors abruptly resigned this week, following 28 years of service to St. Petersburg. Tom Gibson, Director of Engineering and Capital Improvements is now serving as Interim Public Works Administrator.  Gibson has been with the city since 1987.

New York, NY – Cynthia Lopez, Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment, has announced that she will retire in October 2015. She has served as Commissioner since April 2014.  First Deputy Commissioner Luis Castro will replace Lopez upon her retirement.

Skokie, IL – Jim Walters was sworn in as the new Skokie Fire Chief, succeeding Ralph Czerwinski.  Walters is a 30 year veteran of the Fire Department, having served as Deputy Chief for the last 10 years.

Hidalgo County, TX - County Judge Ramon Garcia appointed Bobby Villarreal to the newly created executive position of County Manager. The position was approved at a meeting of the County Commissioners on August 4, 2015.  Villarreal had previously served as Economic Development Director for the county.

  

 

August 20, 2015

This Week:  Chairman of Overstock.com to challenge Utah's Governor Herbert

For the second time this month, a Democratic candidate has dropped out of Indiana’s gubernatorial race. Karen Tallian, a State Senator who announced her candidacy in May, posted a message on her Facebook page saying she was ending her campaign. Tallian’s departure from the race comes just two weeks after Superintendent for Public Instruction Glenda Ritz dropped out the race and announced she would run for reelection to her current position. The only remaining Democrat in the race in John Gregg, a former House Speaker who lost to Mike Pence by three percentage points in 2012. Gregg raised $1.76 million over the first six months of 2015, and stands to pose a significant challenge to the vulnerable Pence’s reelection efforts. The gubernatorial election is in November of 2016.

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts has named Nicole Fox as the newest Senator in the Nebraska Legislature.Ricketts said he chose Fox, a dietitian who teaches at University of Nebraska Medical Center, for her expertise in healthcare policy. Fox replaces Jeremy Nordquist, who resigned from office to serve as Chief of Staff for U.S. Representative Brad Ashford, himself a former State Senator. Fox’s appointment will last until January 2017, and she will have the chance to run for reelection in November 2016. Although the Nebraska Legislature is nonpartisan, Fox’s District 7 seat covers downtown Omaha and is heavily Democratic. The Nebraska Legislature is the only state legislature that is unicameral, or has just a single chamber. 

The Chairman of Overstock.com has announced he will launch a primary challenge to Utah Governor Gary Herbert. Jonathan Johnson, who has worked at the Salt Lake City-based online retailer since 2002, officially declared his candidacy during a speech Saturday night at the state Republican Party’s convention. Repeating his campaign slogan, “Hire JJ”, Johnson challenged Gov. Herbert to a series of debates. Herbert has publicly said he will run for a third term in 2016, but has not yet officially launched a reelection campaign.

Lawrence, KA – Mayor Jeremy Farmer resigned this week.  He also stepped down as Director of Just Foods, where he failed to pay federal payroll taxes.  Council Member Mike Amyx was appointed Mayor, and the City Commission will appoint a new commissioner to fill the vacancy.

Decatur, IL – Mayor Pro Tem Julie Moore-Wolfe was sworn in as Mayor of Decatur this week.  The position has been vacant since Mayor Mike McElroy died in July 2015.  The City Council will appoint a successor for Moore-Wolfe’s vacant council seat.

Cleveland, OH – Fred Szabo has been appointed Interim Director of Cleveland’s Department of Port Control.  The Department oversees Cleveland’s two airports.  Szabo currently serves as Commissioner of the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport.

Seattle, WA – Mayor Edward Murray has appointed Mike Fong as his new Chief of Staff.  He replaces Chris Gregorich, who will now serve as Special Advisor for Strategic Initiatives.  Fong had worked with the Mayor’s office of Policy and with the policy staff for the Seattle City Council.

Boston, MA – Mayor Martin Walsh has appointed Chris Osgood to the new position of Chief of Streets, effective August 24, 2015.  Osgood will work with the Department of Transportation to lead efforts to improve the city’s transportation network.  

South East Pennsylvania Transportation Authority - This week, SEPTA General Manager Joseph M. Casey announced that he will retire September 30, 2015. Casey has headed the authority for the past seven years. The Authority has not yet announced his replacement. 

Clark County, NV – Governor Sandoval has appointed State Assemblywoman Marilyn Kirkpatrick to the Clark County Commission, effective immediately. Kirkpatrick represents District B, a position left vacant by the recent resignation of Commissioner Tom Collins. Kirkpatrick will serve until January 1, 2017.

 

 

August 13, 2105

This Week:  Minnesota State Representative David Dill dead at age 60

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder is losing his Chief of Staff. Dennis Muchmore, who has served as Chief of Staff to Governor Snyder since he took office in early 2011, has announced he will step down from that position in January.  Snyder has named Communications Director Jarrod Agen to become his new Chief of Staff, while Muchmore will remain on staff to oversee special projects. Snyder also appointed Elizabeth Clement to serve in the new role of Cabinet Secretary, which she will hold in addition to her current position of Deputy Chief of Staff.

Minnesota State Representative David Dill passed away from cancer on Saturday, August 7. Dill was a member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and was first elected to the legislature in 2002. He represented the massive District 3A in Minnesota’s northeastern Iron Range region, which is reliably Democratic largely due to its heavily unionized mining workforce. A special election will be held at an undetermined date to determine a replacement. Dill was 60 years old. 

Democrats swept a series of special elections Tuesday to fill vacant seats in the Pennsylvania House. The three open districts were all located in the metropolitan Philadelphia area and had all been previously represented by Democrats. Ed Neilson defeated Tim Dailey in District 174, Joanna McClinton beat Charles Wilkins in District 191, and Donna Bullock bested Adam Lang in District 195.

Jersey City, NJ – Mayor Steve Fulop has appointed Ryan Jacobs as his new Communications Director.  Jacobs had recently served as Speechwriter for U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.  He replaces Jennifer Morrill, who will remain with the press office with the title of Press Secretary.

New York, NY – Mayor Bill de Blasio has appointed Andrea Zuniga as his Deputy Chief of Staff.  She had previously served as a Legislative Representative for AFL/CIO.

Chicago, IL – Mayor Rahm Emanuel has appointed David Reifman as Commissioner of the Planning and Development Department, Effective September 1, 2015.  Reifman comes to the department from DLA Piper in Chicago, where he was partner.  He replaces Andrew Mooney, who is retiring after five years as Commissioner.

Reading, PA – City Council President Francisco Acosta has resigned, following a guilty plea on conspiracy to commit bribery.  The sitting city council members will appoint Acosta’s successor.

Atlanta, GA – Atlanta Police Chief George Turner has appointed Elizabeth Espy as Director of Public Affairs for the Police Department.  She had been serving as Interim Director of Public affairs and has been with the department for five years.

Metro Transit Authority, NY – Current President of MTA Bridges and Tunnels James Ferrara has been named Interim President of New York City Transit. Ferrara will take the position when current President Carmen Bianco retires on August 21, 2015.

Arlington County, VA – Acting County Manager Mark Schwartz has appointed Fire Chief James H. Schwartz as Deputy County Manager, effective September 8, 2015.  Current Assistant Fire Chief Joseph Reshetar will serve as Acting Fire Chief, while the county searches for a permanent replacement.

St. Tammany Parish, Louisiana– S. Michele Blanchard has been sworn in to represent the 13th district on Parish Council. Blanchard takes over for Richard Artigue, who left his position in July. She will serve out the rest of his term, which ends in December 2015, and intends to run for a full term this fall. 

 

 

August 6, 2015

This Week:  New Candidates Emerge in Mississippi's Race for Governor

A truck driver who has never before held political office has won the Democratic nomination to challenge Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant. Robert Gray won 51 percent of the vote in the three-candidate Democratic primary, defeating party-favored attorney Vicki Slater and Dr. Valerie Short. Gray has no campaign website and had neither raised nor spent any money on his campaign. He joins a list of unlikely Democratic candidates who have recently won party nominations in heavily Republican southern states. In the 2010 U.S. Senate election in South Carolina, unknown candidate Alvin Greene won the Democratic nomination despite having no campaign website. In last year’s gubernatorial race in Tennessee, a political unknown named Charlie Brown won the Democratic nomination, even though his name was misspelled on his campaign’s Facebook page. When asked about his unlikely victory, Gray suggested people voted “at random.” Mississippi is one of three states, along with Kentucky and Louisiana, to hold a gubernatorial election this November.

Utah Governor Gary Herbert has appointed Dr. Joseph Kay Miner to direct the state’s Department of Health. Dr. Miner has spent the last 32 years serving as Executive Director of the Utah County Health Department in Provo. If his appointment is confirmed by the Utah State Senate, Dr. Miner will replace David Patton, who resigned in late July to join the private sector.

Two seats in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives were filled via special elections held on Tuesday, August 4. Republican Greg Rothman defeated Democrat Bob Charles to fill the vacant District 87 seat. Rothman was previously Chairman of the Cumberland County GOP. Rothman will replace Glen Grell, who resigned in April to lead the state’s Public Schools Employee Retirement System. Democrat Leanne Krueger-Braneky was elected to represent District 161in the southern Philadelphia suburbs. Krueger-Braneky ran for and lost the seat in November 2014 to Republican Joe Hackett, who resigned just a few months later to join the District Attorney’s office.

Henderson, NV – Bob Murnane has been appointed City Manager in Henderson.  He replaces Jacob Snow who resigned in April 2015.  Murnane previously served as Senior Director of the Public Works, Parks and Recreation Department in Henderson.

Ann Arbor, MI – Jim Baird has been appointed Interim Police Chief in Ann Arbor.  He replaces John Seto, who retired after a 25 year career with the department.  Baird is a 22 year veteran of the Ann Arbor Police Department.

Hattiesburg, MS – Anthony Parker has been appointed Police Chief, replacing Frazier Bolton.  Parker is a 33 year veteran of law enforcement, previously serving with the Mississippi Highway Patrol and the Crystal Springs Police Department.

New Rochelle, NY – Kathleen Gill has been appointed Chief of Staff for Policy and Government Affairs/Corporation Counsel for the city, effective September 28, 2015.  She replaces Mark Blanchard who is leaving for a job in the private sector.

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority- This week, Stan Wall resigned his position at the Authority as Director of Real Estate. He plans to move to the private sector. Adam Scott has been selected to fill the position on an interim basis. 

Horry County, SC - Cam Crawford won a special election to fill the County Council seat for District 6. The seat was left vacant after County Councilor Bob Grabowski died earlier this year.

Cook County, IL – Sean Morrison was sworn in as Cook County Commissioner this week. Morrison fills the vacancy left by Elizabeth Gorman, who held the seat for over a decade but stepped down earlier this month to accept a position in the private sector.

 

 

July 30, 2015

This Week:  States' Governments Fraught with Convictions and Resignations

New York State Senator John Sampson was convicted on Friday, July 24, of federal corruption charges and forced to resign from his southeastern Brooklyn seat. Sampson, a Democrat who had represented District 19 since 1997, was initially indicted for embezzlement, obstruction of justice, and making false statements to federal agents back in May 2013, at which point he was removed from his legislative committee assignments. Sampson’s resignation came just two days after Republican Tom Libous was convicted of lying to federal agents and forced to give up his District 52 seat. Governor Andrew Cuomo has not yet set a special election date to fill either vacant seat.

Ohio State Representative Steven Kraus was convicted of theft on Monday July 27, and removed from his seat in the State House. Kraus,  a Republican from Sandusky, was only six months into his first term, which he won by defeating incumbent and Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern in November. A jury found Redfern guilty of stealing antiques and a shotgun from a Port Clinton home; Kraus’s attorney claims he had permission from a real estate agent to inventory the items for auction. The Ohio Republican Party is responsible for finding a successor for the vacant District 89 seat.

Missouri State Senator Paul LeVota announced he will be resigning from office after facing allegations he sexually harassed two female interns. LeVota, a Democrat who is married with two children, was accused of bringing an intern to his office and pressuring her to have sex with him. After these allegations became public, another woman revealed inappropriate text messages the state senator had sent her while she interned for him in 2010. LeVota was removed from his membership on the Senate Committee on Rules, Joint Rules, Resolutions and Ethics while that committee investigates the allegations. He will resign from his District 11 seat on August 23.

Santa Fe, NM – Police Chief Eric Garcia resigned abruptly this week after 13 months on the job.  City Manager Brian Snyder has appointed Patrick Gallagher as Interim Chief of Police, while the city searches for a permanent replacement.

Atlanta, GA – Chief Operating Office Michael Geisler has resigned effective August 6, 2015.  Geisler had served as COO since January 2014.  Deputy Chief Operating Officer Kristin Wilson will serve as Interim COO until a permanent replacement is hired.

Chicago, IL – Mayor Rahm Emanuel has appointed Eileen Mitchell as his new Chief of Staff, effective mid-August.  Mitchell previously served as Vice President of External Affairs for AT&T Illinois.  She replaces Forrest Claypool, who stepped down to serve as Chief Executive Officer for Chicago Public Schools.

Sacramento, CA – Larry Burkhardt has been appointed Director of the Sacramento Economic Development Department, effective August 17, 2015.  He replaces John Dangberg, who has been serving as Interim Director.  Burkhardt had previously served as a member of the Workforce Development Council in Colorado.

Cook County, IL – Sean Morrison was sworn in as Cook County Commissioner this week. Morrison fills the vacancy left by Elizabeth Gorman, who held the seat for over a decade but stepped down earlier this month to accept a position in the private sector.

 

 

July 23, 2015

This Week:  Porrino Leaving NJ Gov. Christies' Team

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is losing his top legal advisor. Christopher Porrino, who was appointed Chief Counsel in December 2013, announced that he will leave that position on July 31 to return to the law firm Lowenstein Sandler LLP. Before becoming Chief Counsel, Porrino worked in the Christie administration as Director of the Law Division in the Attorney General’s Office. Christie announced that attorney Thomas Scrivo will serve as Porrino’s replacement. 

The Colorado State Senate’s Democratic Caucus elected Lucia Guzman to serve as their new Minority Leader.Guzman has represented District 34 in West Denver since May 2010. She was elected to replace Morgan Carroll, who stepped down from the Minority Leader position after announcing she was running for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan appointed Gregory C. Johnson to serve as Administrator of the State Highway Administration. Johnson currently serves as Chief Operations Officer at Michigan’s Department of Transportation. He will begin his new position on September 16. 

The Oklahoma State Board of Pardon and Parole Board voted on Monday, July 20 to name DeLynn Fudge as their new Executive Director. Fudge, who was selected from a pool of twenty applicants, currently works for the state’s District Attorneys Council. She will start her new position on August 10. 

Decatur, IL – Mayor Mike McElroy died this week in a fatal automobile accident.  He had been serving as Mayor since 2009 and also served as a City Council Member.  Mayor Pro Tem Julie Moore-Woolfe will serve as interim mayor until the council appoints a successor to serve the remainder of McElroy’s term.

Mesquite, TX – City Manager Ted Barron has announced that he will retire, effective September 30, 2015.  Barron has been serving as City Manager for 20 years.  Deputy City Manager Carol Zolnerowich has also announced her retirement, effective January 31, 2016.  She has been serving as Deputy City Manager since 1995.

New York, NY – Mayor Bill de Blasio has appointed Jonathan Soto as Senior Community Liaison in the city’s Community Affairs Unit.  He will assist the Mayor’s office with fostering relationships with communities of faith across New York City.

Frederick County, MD – County Executive Jan Gardner has appointed Vivian Laxton to the newly created position of Public Information Officer. Laxton comes to the County from the private sector.

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority— Governor Charles Baker has appointed five members to the newly created MBTA Fiscal Management and Control Board. Lisa Calisle, Brian Lang, Steve Poftak, and Monica Tibbits-Nutt were appointed, with Joseph Aiello selected as Chairman. The Board also met for the first time this week.

 

 

July 16, 2015

This Week:  Connecticut Gov. Malloy's Chief of Staff leaves administration

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy announced that his Chief of Staff Mark Ojakian will be departing his administration by the end of the year. Ojakian was appointed as Malloy’s Chief of Staff in December 2011, and had previously served as Deputy Comptroller for 16 years under former State Comptroller Nancy Wyman. Malloy announced he would name a new Chief of Staff at a later date.

John Hoffman, the Acting Attorney General of New Jersey, has made a series of five executive staff appointments within the Department of Law and Public Safety. Robert Lougy was promoted from Chief of Staff to First Assistant Attorney General. Rebecca Ricigliano has replaced Lougy as Chief of Staff. Deborah Edwards has been moved from her position as Counsel to the Attorney General and will now serve as Executive Assistant Attorney General. Jeffrey Jacobson will replace Deborah Edwards as Counsel. Rounding out the staff changes is the appointment of Christopher Iu as Deputy Chief of Staff.

Regina Goodwin was elected to represent District 73 in the Oklahoma House of Representatives. Goodwin, a Democrat, won 35 percent of the votes cast in the seven-candidate field. No Republican candidates filed to run in the heavily-Democratic district, which is located in western Tulsa. The election was held to find a successor to Kevin Matthews, who left the House after winning a special election in April to serve in the State Senate.  

Athens, GA – Scott Freeman was sworn in as the new Athens-Clarke County Police Chief this week.  He replaces Jack Lumpkin, who retired after 20 years as chief.  Freeman previously served as Police Chief in Rockdale, GA.

New York, NY – New York Corporation Counsel Zachary Carter appointed Georgia Pestana as First Assistant Corporation Counsel.  She replaces Jeffrey Friedlander, who retired.  Pestana has served as Executive Assistant for Employment and Policy Litigation in the Corporation Counsel’s office since 2014.

 

 

July 9, 2015 

This Week: 19-year-old wins seat in NH House

Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes has named Tyler Green to be the state’s next Solicitor General. In this position, Green will represent the state’s interests before state and federal appellate and trial courts. Green currently serves as Deputy Chief Counsel for Litigation at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., and previously clerked for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. He will replace Bridget Romano, who has been promoted to Chief Civil Deputy in the Attorney General’s office. Green’s appointment is effective July 31.

Rhode Island Governor Gina Raimondo has nominated Dr. Ken Wagner to serve as the Commissioner of the state’s Department of Education. Wagner is a former middle school teacher and currently serves as Senior Deputy Commissioner for Education Policy in the New York State Education Department.  If confirmed by the state Board of Education, Wagner will replace Deborah Gist, who stepped down from the position in June to serve as Superintendent of Public Schools for the City of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Rio Tilton, a 19-year-old Republican from the town of Seabrook, won a special election held Tuesday to fill an open seat in the New Hampshire House of Representatives. Tilton defeated Democratic opponent Elaine Andrews-Ahearn by a tally of 772 votes to 375. The special election was held to find a successor to Dennis Sweeney, who resigned in April after serving just four months on the job. Tilton won despite controversy over his online social media profile, which featured sexual innuendos and references to drug use. 

Kelly Anthon is the newest member of the Idaho State Senate representing District 27. Governor Butch Otter appointed Anthon to fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Senator Dean Cameron, who now serves as Director of the Idaho Department of Insurance. Anthon is a Republican who has served as the Administrator of the City of Rupert since 2012.

Baltimore, MD – Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake has appointed Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Davis as Interim Police Commissioner.  Davis replaces Anthony Batts, who had served as Commissioner since 2012.

Newark, NJ – The New Jersey State Board of Education approved Christopher Cerf as the governor-appointed State District Superintendent of Newark Public Schools.  Cerf replaces Cami Anderson, who served in the same position since 2011.  Cerf had served as Commissioner for the New Jersey State Board of Education from 2012-2014.

Pittsburgh, PA – Current Assistant Executive Director Mary Ann Bucci has been appointed Acting Executive Director of the Port of Pittsburgh Commission.  She replaces Steve Martinko, who resigned for a position with K&L Gates government affairs team.

Erie County, NY – Mary Laski Hoffman was appointed Chief Operations Officer for the Erie County Medical Center, after serving as Vice President of Operations for the past year. Julia Culkin-Jacobia was appointed Chief People Officer for the Medical Center, and will oversee all human resources functions

Hudson County, NJ – Esther Suarez has been approved by the New Jersey State Senate to be the next Prosecutor for Hudson County. Her nomination by Governor Christie and subsequent approval comes after three years without a County Prosecutor. Guy Gregory had been serving as Acting Prosecutor during that time.

 

 

July 2, 2015

This Week:  Massachusetts mourns death of State Senator Thomas P. Kennedy

The Pennsylvania State Senate voted to confirm Tim Reese as State Treasurer on Friday, June 26. Governor Tom Wolf nominated Reese to the position in April to fill the remainder of former State Treasurer Rob McCord’s unexpired term. McCord resigned in January after finding himself under a federal investigation, and later pled guilty to two counts of extortion. Reese was confirmed by a count of 48-1.

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam announced four appointments within his staff. He appointed Jim Henry, the current head of the state’s Department of Children’s Services, to be his new Chief of Staff. Henry will replace outgoing Chief of Staff Mark Cate. Haslam has also named Leslie Hafner as his Senior Advisor, Will Cromer as his Special Assistant for Strategy, and Warren Wells as Legislative Director. These changes will all become effective on August 1. Haslam is also expected to appoint a new Communications Director soon, as current spokesperson Alexia Poe announced her resignation last month.

Massachusetts  State Senator Thomas P. Kennedy passed away on Sunday, June 28 at the age of 63. A Democrat from Brockton, Kennedy overcame a disability to serve over three decades in the state legislature. After a fall from a window left him a quadriplegic at the age of 19, Kennedy embarked on a career in politics. He was first elected to the Massachusetts House of Representative in 1982 and served in the body for 26 years. Kennedy won a seat in the Massachusetts Senate in 2008, and won reelection three times. Governor Charlie Baker issued a statement reading, “Tom’s perseverance in overcoming his disabilities served as an inspiration for all those who knew him and for many more who are also working to surmount their own challenges in life."

Chicago, IL – Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced Planning and Development Commissioner Andrew Mooney will be retiring on September 1, 2015. He has served as Commissioner since 2010.  The Mayor plans to announce a replacement in summer 2015.

New York, NY – Mayor Bill de Blasio has appointed Maria Torres-Springer as the next President of the New York City Economic Development Corporation.  She replaces Kyle Kimball who resigned earlier this year.  Torres-Spring currently serves as Commissioner of New York City’s Department of Small Business Services.

Dallas, TX – Michael Hinojosa has returned to the Dallas Independent School District as Interim Superintendent of Schools.  He replaces Mike Miles, who resigned in June 2015.  Hinojosa had previously served as Superintendent from 2015-2011.

Portland, OR – Mayor Charlie Hales has appointed Josh Alpert as Chief of Staff, effective July 20, 2015.  He replaces Gail Shibley who is resigning for a position with the Oregon Youth Authority.  Alpert is currently serving as Policy Director for Mayor Hales.

Ada County, ID – Stephen Bartlett was sworn in as the new Sheriff for Ada County.  Bartlett replaces Gary Raney, who retired.  Bartlett has been with the Sheriff’s office since 2003, most recently serving as Captain.

St. Louis County, MO – Sheila Sweeney has been appointed Acting Chief Executive of the St. Louis Economic Development Partnership.  She replaces Denny Coleman, who retired.  Sweeney will continue to serve until a permanent replacement is hired, and has announced that she is not seeking the position.

 

 

June 25, 2015

This Week:  Departures imminent from Christie's Cabinet

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan revealed in a press conference on Monday that he has been diagnosed with cancer and will undergo chemotherapy. Hogan, a Republican who was elected Governor in a stunning upset last November, is suffering from a late stage form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Hogan said he would continue to serve as Governor during treatment, but Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford will take over some of his responsibilities when necessary. In his press conference, Hogan was both candid and upbeat while talking about his diagnosis. He said that his treatment would “beat the hell out of me” and that he would likely lose his hair. He also joked that his odds of beating cancer were better than his odds of beating Anthony Brown, his Democratic opponent last fall. 

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced the departure of three members of his Cabinet, each of whom will leave his administration over the next few weeks. State Treasurer Andrew Sidamon-Eristoff will be stepping down from the position he has held since 2010, and will be replaced in an acting capacity by Deputy Treasurer Robert Romano. Mary O’Dowd will be leaving her position as Commissioner of the Department of Health. Catherine Bennett, the department’s Director of Policy and Strategic Planning, will become Acting Commissioner once O’Dowd departs. Ken Kobylowski is resigning from his position as Commissioner of the Department of Banking and Insurance. Governor Christie intends to nominate Richard Badolato to replace him.

Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts appointed Jeff Fassett to serve as Director of the state’s Department of Natural Resources. Fassett previously serves as State Engineer and Chief Water Resource Official for the State of Wyoming from 1987 to 2000. Since leaving the public sector, Fassett has worked for HDR Engineering in Omaha.

Dallas, TX – Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Mike Miles resigned, effective June 26, 2015.  Current Deputy Superintendent Ann Smisko will serve as Acting Superintendent until a permanent replacement is hired.

Eau Claire, WI – Tim Tewalt has been appointed to the Eau Clair City Council.  He fills a vacancy, formerly held by Dave Duax, who passed away in April 2015.

Newark, NJ – New Jersey Commissioner of Education David Hespe has announced that state appointed State Superintendent of the Newark Public School District Cami Anderson will step down on July 8.  She will be replaced by Chris Cerf, for a three year appointment.

Akron, OH – Jack Hefner has been appointed to the Akron City Council.  He fills a vacancy of former City Council Member Garry Moneypenny, who resigned and briefly served as Mayor of Akron.  The Akron City Council still has one vacancy to fill, following Council Member Jeff Fusco’s appointment as current Mayor of Akron.

Greensboro, NC – Just Outling has been appointed to the Greensboro City Council.  He fills a vacancy left when former City Council Member Zack Matheny resigned for a position with Downtown Greensboro, Inc.

Pima County, AZ – Sheriff Clarence Dupnik announced his retirement this week after over 50 years of service to the county. Dupnik’s last day is July 31, 2015.

Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority – Vice President and Secretary to the Board of Directors Quince Brinkley has announced that he has accepted a position with the nonprofit Westside Future Fund in Atlanta, GA. His last day with the Authority is July 10, 2015, with current Deputy Secretary Lisa Makle-Brooks stepping in as Acting Secretary until the Authority’s annual elections in November 2015.

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey – Molly Campbell, former finance executive at Los Angeles World Airports for the City of Los Angeles, has been chosen to lead the Port Authority’s Port Commerce Department. Campbell starts her new position on July 27, 2015

 

 

June 18, 2015

This Week:  South Carolina mourns in death of State Senator Pinckney

South Carolina is mourning the loss of State Senator Clementa Pinckney, who was killed during a shooting on Wednesday night at the church where he served as a pastor. Pinckney was one of nine victims killed by a gunman during a prayer service at Emanuel AME Church in downtown Charleston in an incident police are treating as a hate crime. Pinckney had represented the 45th Senate District since 2000, and had previously served in the state’s House of Representatives. He was 41 years old. U.S. Senator Tim Scott (R-S.C.) issued a statement reading, “Tonight we stand together in prayer for Pastor Pinckney and his congregation at Emanuel AME, and for the families who are enduring unimaginable pain at the loss of their loved ones.” Pinckney had earlier that day attended a fundraiser for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton held less than a mile from the site of the shooting; Clinton later posted a tweet reading, “Heartbreaking news from Charleston – my thoughts and prayers are with you all.”

Col. Marcus Brown, the man Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf nominated to be State Police Commissioner, has announced he will withdraw his name from consideration for the position after being rejected by the Republican-led State Senate. Brown will continue to serve as Acting Commissioner until the Governor selects a replacement. In a statement announcing Brown’s withdrawal, Gov. Wolf struck a defiant tone against the state legislature, saying, “Despite Marcus’ vast and unquestioned qualifications, the Senate wrongfully rejected his nomination in a move that put politics above the best interests of the people of Pennsyvlania.” The rejection of Brown is seen as victory for the state police union, who opposed Brown’s decision to wear the state police uniform despite having not attended the state police academy.

Indiana Governor Mike Pence has selected Micah Vincent to serve as the state’s new Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Vincent is currently General Counsel and Policy Director at the agency. He previously served as Commissioner of the Department of Local Government Finance. Vincent will replace outgoing OMB Director Chris Atkins on June 27. 

Los Angeles, CA – Mayor Eric Garcetti has hired Jeff Gorell as Deputy Mayor for Homeland Security and Public Safety, effective July 6.  He will replace Eileen Decker, who is retiring.  Gorell had served as a California State Assembly Member from 2010-2014.

Charlotte, NC – Kerr Putney has been promoted to serve as Police Chief, effective July 1, 2015.  He replaces Rodney Monroe who is retiring and has served as Chief since 2008.  Putney is a 23 year veteran of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department.

Plano, TX – Shannah Hayley has been hired as the city’s new Director of Marketing and Community Engagement, Effective June 22, 2015.  Hayley has been working in marketing and communications for 20 years, most recently as Director of Marketing for The Beck Group.

Boston, MA – Boston Public Library Board of Trustees Chairman Jeffrey Rudman has announced that he will be resigning from the Board effective July 3, 2015.

Cuyahoga County, OH - County Executive Armand Budish announced Sheryl Harris, longtime Columnist and Blogger for the Plain Dealer, as the County’s next Director of Consumer Affairs. The Consumer Affairs Department oversees the Weights and Measures Division, as well as the Consumer Protection Division, and was created in 2012.

 

 

June 11, 2105

This Week: Democrat Brownlee resigns; pleads guilty to conflict of interest

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin announced on Monday that he would not be seeking reelection in 2016 to a fourth term in office. At a press conference at the State House in Montpelier, Shumlin said he based his decision on his belief that three two-year terms was the appropriate limit for a governor, and his conviction that he will achieve what he had set out to accomplish by the time his current term ends eighteen months from now. Shumlin was first elected in 2010, and won a commanding reelection win in 2012. Last November, however, Shumlin failed to win the majority necessary to secure a victory, despite facing a candidate who had never held political office. According to Vermont state law, if no candidate receives 50 percent of the vote, the state legislature decides who will serve as governor. Vermont and its eastern neighbor New Hampshire are the only states in the nation that elect governors to two-year terms.

Philadelphia Democrat Michelle Brownlee has resigned from her seat in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Brownlee pleaded guilty to one count of conflict of interest on Monday, after she was alleged to have accepted $2,000 wrapped in a napkin from an informant posing as a “lobbyist.” Brownlee was first elected to represent House District 195 in 2010.  

Facing allegations of embezzlement, Oklahoma State Senator Rick Brinkley has resigned from his leadership positions. Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman announced that Brinkley, a Republican, will no longer serve as Chair of the Pensions Committee or as Vice Chair of the Finance Committee, and he had resigned as one of three Assistant Majority Floor Leaders. Brinkley is being sued by his former employer, the Better Business Bureau of Tulsa, which alleges he embezzled more than $1 million over the course of his 15-year employment. Brinkley denies wrongdoing. Bingman appointed Jason Smalley to replace Brinkley as Chair of the Pensions Committee, and Marty Quinn will now serve as Vice Chair of the Finance Committee.

Carol Hagan McEntee narrowly won election to represent District 33 in the Rhode Island House of Representatives on Tuesday. The South Kingston Democrat collected 877 votes, giving her an 88-vote margin over Republican Robert Trager, her nearest challenger. McEntee will replace Donald J. Lally, who resigned from the House in March after having served in the body for 26 years. 

Akron, OH - Mayor Garry Moneypenny has resigned after only 10 days on the job.  He was sworn in as Mayor when Donald Plusquellic resigned on May 31, 2015.  Moneypenny was accused of improper behavior with a staff member and resigned.  Former City Council President Jeff Fusco was sworn in as Mayor of Akron on June 11, 2015.

Alexandria, VA – Renee Gordon has been appointed the new Director of the Department of Emergency Communications.  The department handles all 911 and non-emergency calls for the Police, Fire, and Sheriff’s offices.  Gordon has previously served in emergency communications for the city of Baltimore and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.

Albany, GA – Michael Persley has been sworn in as Albany’s Police Chief.  Persley is a 21 year veteran of the Albany Police Department and has served in Iraq and Afghanistan with the Georgia Army National Guard.

Chico, CA – Mike O’Brien has been sworn in as the new Police Chief in Chico. O’Brien is a 23 year veteran of the Chico Police Department, most recently serving as Captain.  He replaces Mike Dunbaugh, Interim Chief of Police since 2014.

Metropolitan Water District of Southern California - Stephen J. Faessel was sworn in on June 9, 2015 as the resentative for the City of Anaheim on the Water District's Board of Directors. Faessel is active in local government, currently chairing the City's Budget, Investment and Technology Committee 

Orange County, CA - Michelle Aguirre has been chosen as the County's next Chief Financial Officer. The position was left vacant by Frank Kim, who has been serving as County Executive Officer since May. Aguirre has worked for Orange County for over 25 years, and has served as Budget Director since 2013.

 

 

 

June 4, 2015

This Week:  Chicago Public Schools' CEO Resigns Following Investigation

Matt Bevin was officially declared the winner of Kentucky’s GOP gubernatorial primary, after runner-up James Comer officially conceded on Friday, May 29. Bevin, a member of the Tea Party movement, initially held a razor-thin 83 vote lead over Comer one day after the May 19 primary. After a recanvass of votes produced the same result, Comer announced he would not ask for a recount. U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, who defeated Bevin in a contentious primary race last year, released a short statement congratulating Bevin on his victory and endorsing him in the general election. Bevin will face Democratic Attorney General Jack Conway in the November 3 election.

Beau Biden, the son of the sitting Vice President, passed away on Saturday, May 30, following a battle with brain cancer. Biden finished his second term as Attorney General of Delaware this January, and had been rumored to be considering a run for Governor in 2016. In 1972, at the age of 3, he and his younger brother survived a deadly car accident that claimed the lives of his mother and younger sister. Following that early tragedy, Biden grew up to become a federal prosecutor and later was deployed to Iraq as a member of the Delaware Army National Guard. Biden was 46 years old.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner appointed Brig. Gen. Richard J. Hayes Jr. as the next leader of the state’s National Guard. BG Hayes has served as Assistant Adjutant General of the Illinois Army National Guard since June 2013. He will replace outgoing Adjutant General BG Daniel Krumrei. BG Hayes will begin his new assignment onJune 7. 

Boston, MA – Boston Public Library President Amy Ryan has submitted her resignation effective July 3, 2015.  The library has recently reported the loss of several pieces of valuable art.

Nashua, NH – Steven Galipeau was sworn in as Nashua’s new Fire Chief. He replaces Brian Morrissey who retired after a 37 year career with the department.  Galipeau has served with the Nashua Fire Department since 1980.

Chicago, IL – Mayor Rahm Emanuel has appointed four new members to the Chicago Public School’s Board of Education.  Gail Ward, Rev. Michael Garanzini, Dominique Jordan Turner and Mark Furlong will replace Carlos Azcoitia, Henry Bienen, Deborah Quazzo and Andrea Zopp, whose terms expire on June 30, 2015.  Also at Chicago Public Schools, Chief Executive Officer Barbara Byrd-Bennett has resigned.  She has been under investigation following a no-bid contract awarded to her former employer.  Byrd-Bennett had been on administrative leave while Jesse Ruiz served as Interim Chief Executive Officer of the school system.

New York, NY – Sherry Chan has been appointed the new Chief Actuary for New York City.  Chan previously served as Chief Actuarial Officer for the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System.  She replaces Robert North, who retired in October, 2014.

Aurora, IL – Wendy McCambridge has been hired as the new City Clerk for Aurora, effective June 22, 2015.  She is currently the Federal and State Grants Unit Associate Director for the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority.

Metropolitan Transit Authority, NY – President of New York City Transit for the Metropolitan Transit Authority Carmen Bianco, announced this week that he will retire in August 2015. Bianco has been with the Authority since 2010. His successor has not yet been named. 

Allegheny County, PA– The seat on the County Council left empty by the passing of Councilwoman Barbara Daly Danko is now filled. Terri Klein, a member of the Pittsburgh chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, was appointed by the County Democratic Council and sworn in on June 2. Klein will serve out the remainder of Daly Danko’s term, set to end in November 2015, but will not seek election.

 

  

May 28, 2015

This Week:  Former Senator Geddes to Direct Idaho Dept. of Administration

North Carolina’s Medicaid Director will be leaving his post next month to become Chancellor at UNC Pembroke.Robin Cummings, who also serves as Deputy Secretary of Health Services at the state Department of Health and Human Services, will be resigning on June 5. Dave Richard will become the state’s new Medicaid Director, while Randall Williams will replace Cummings in his Deputy Secretary position.

Idaho Governor Butch Otter has named former State Senator Bob Geddes as the next Director of the state’s Department of Administration. Geddes is the replacement for Teresa Luna, who resigned earlier this spring. Geddes was a Republican member of the Idaho Senate from 1995 until 2011, and served as President Pro Tem for many years. His first day will be June 1.

The former Florida head of the Hillsborough County, Florida school system will now lead the New York State Education Department. The New York State Board of Regents voted on Tuesday, May 26, to appoint MaryEllen Elia as the Commissioner of Education, effective July 6. The Board of Regents had been searching since January to find a replacement for former Commissioner John King, who moved to D.C. to become Deputy Secretary at the U.S. Department of Education. Elia was first appointed as Superintendent of Hillsborough County Public Schools in 2005, but she was terminated in January of this year after the local school board voted 4-3 in favor of her dismissal. Elia’s firing was controversial, as she was recently named Florida Superintendent of the Year, but school board members argued her yearly contract of $439,000 was too expensive for the county.

Nicole Galloway, the newly-appointed State Auditor of Missouri, announced the hiring of two members of her communications staff. Gena Terlizza has joined the Auditor’s office as Director of Communications after serving in the same position at the Department of Health and Senior Services. Rebecca Gorley was named Public Information Officer. Gorley previously worked for Progress Missouri, a progressive advocacy organization.

Alexandria, VA – Kendel Taylor has been appointed permanent Director of Finance for Alexandria, effective June 1, 2015.  She has been serving as Acting Director of Finance since August 2014.  Taylor has served with the city for 20 years, mostly in the Office of Management and Budget.

Denver, CO – Denver International Airport has promoted Gisela Shanahan as Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President of Finance.  Shanahan had previously served as Acting Senior Vice President of Finance.  She has also served as Chief Financial Officer of Colorado Springs Municipal Airport.

New York, NY – Mayor Bill de Blasio has hired Karen Hinton as the new Press Secretary.  Hinton comes to the Mayor’s office from her own firm, Hinton Communications, in Washington, DC.  She also worked as Senior Advisor to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, when he was Secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority – The Board of Directors selected Derric A. Gregory, Sr. as the Authority’s Vice President of Audit. Gregory has most recently served as President of Dimension Partners, LLC, a corporate consulting firm. He replaces Ginger Evans, who announced her retirement in April. 

Montgomery County, MD– Darryl has been hired as Deputy Director of Labor and Employee Relations in the county’s Office of Human Resources. Gorman previously worked in the administration of Washington, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray.

 

 

May 21, 2015

This Week:  Missouri Speaker of the House Resigns Amid Sexting Scandal

On Thursday, May 14, a day after being implicated in a sexting scandal with a teenage intern, Missouri Speaker of the House John Diehl announced his resignation from both his leadership position and legislative seat. The Kansas City Star first reported that Diehl, a Republican who had served as Speaker for four months, exchanged a series of sexts with a 19-year-old female who worked in his office, and many of the texts were sexually suggestive. Diehl officially vacated the House of Representatives at the close of business on Friday, May 15. The Republican caucus voted on Friday to promote Todd Richardson to serve as the new Speaker. Richardson moves up from the now-vacant Majority Floor Leader position, which Republican are expected to vote to fill in July.

On Tuesday, May 19, Kentucky held its primary to determine party nominees for statewide elections held on November 3. In the Republican race for Governor, Matt Bevin leads State Agriculture Commissioner James Comer by a mere 83 votes, and a final outcome isn’t expected until at least next week. Attorney General Jack Conway easily secured the Democratic nomination after earning the endorsement of outgoing incumbent Steve Beashear. The Attorney General race will be between Republican Whitney Westerfield and Democrat Andy Beshear, the son of the current Governor. After a failed U.S. Senate bid last year, Alison Lundergan Grimes fended off a Democratic primary challenger and will face Republican Stephen Knipper as she seeks reelection to the office of Secretary of State.

Vermont State Senator Norm McAllister has been stripped of his committee assignments after being arrested and charged with multiple felony counts of sexual assault. McAllister, a Republican from Franklin, has pleaded not guilty to the charges and will not resign from his seat. On Thursday, members of the Senate Committee on Committees met and agreed to remove McAllister from the Agriculture and the Institutions Committees.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper is losing his top legal advisor. Stephanie Donner, who has served as Chief Legal Counsel in the Governor’s Office since last November, will be leaving in July to become Chief Counsel of Galvanize, a Denver-based start-up incubator. Hickenlooper praised Donner in a press release, saying her “leadership and counsel has been invaluable as we have navigated through floods, fires and rebuilt our economy.” Hickenlooper also announced the appointment of Jacki Cooper Melmed to become his new Chief Legal Counsel starting August 1. 

Jacksonville, FL – Lenny Curry was elected Mayor of Jacksonville, defeating incumbent Alvin Brown.  Curry will be sworn in on July 1, 2015.

Colorado Springs, CO – John Suthers was elected Mayor of Colorado Springs, effective June 2, 2015.  He replaces Steve Bach, who did not run for re-election.

Biloxi, MS – In a special election, Andrew Gilich was elected Mayor of Biloxi.  He replaces A.J. Holloway, who resigned in May 2015.

Memphis, TN – Alan Crone was appointed to the Memphis City Council to represent District 9.  He fills the vacancy created when Shea Flinn resigned from the City Council in April 2015.  Crone is a former Chairman of the Shelby County Republican Party.

Kansas City, MO – Public Schools Superintendent Stephen Green has resigned effective June 30, 2015.  Green will serve as Superintendent of the DeKalb County, GA.  He will replace Michael Thurmond, who has been serving as Interim Superintendent since 2013.

Arlington County, VA – County Manager Barbara Donnellan has appointed Murray Farr as Chief of Police following the retirement of previous Police Chief M. Douglas Scott in March. Donnellan has been serving as Acting Police Chief since March 2015. 

Washington Metropolitan Area Transportation Authority – WTTG-TV (Fox5 Washington affiliate) reporter Sherri Ly has been selected as WMATA’s next Manager of Media Relations. She will start in the new position in early Summer 2015. 

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the appointment of Steve Cohen to the Board of Commissioners of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Cohen has previously served as Secretary to the Governor and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. The appointment is subject to confirmation by the New York State Legislature.

 

 

 

May 14, 2015 

This Week: Flanagan Replaces Skelos as Republican Majority Leader in NY Senate

One week after he was arrested and charged with five counts of federal corruption, New York State Senator Dean Skelos has resigned his leadership post as Temporary President and Republican Majority Leader. In a closed-door meeting on Monday, May 11, Republicans elected John J. Flanagan to serve as Skelos’ replacement. Flanagan represents the State Senate’s 2nd District, which covers a portion of Long Island’s Suffolk County. Skelos claims he is innocent of all charges, and he has not resigned from his Senate seat.

Current Oregon Medicaid Director, Judy Mohr Peterson has been chosen to serve in a similar capacity as the new Med-Quest Division Administrator for the Hawaii Department of Human services.  Dr. Mohr Peterson has been an Oregon State Medicaid Director since 2009 and has played a significant role in expanding coverage, increasing primary care and reducing hospitalizations. She will start her new position as Med-Quest Division Administrator on July 1, 2015.

Michelle Figlar was appointed to serve as a deputy Secretary of the Office of Child Development within the Pennsylvania Department of Education. Ms. Figlar has served as the Executive Director of the Pittsburg Association for Education of Young Children since 2006 and has worked with local leaders to create programs that enhance professional development and develop plans for early care and education. She will start her new position as Deputy Secretary on June 10, 2015.

Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley began his unpaid leave on May 4, 2015, leaving his deputy director Jan Jutte in charge of the State Auditor’s office. Already one recall effort was filed against Kelley and deemed to not meet the legal threshold required to put the recall before state voters. Meanwhile, Troy Kelley’s trial date has been pushed back to January 19, 2016. 

On May 14, 2015, news broke that Missouri Speaker of the House John Diehl was accused of exchanging suggestive text messages with an intern. He has since released a public apology but has asserted he will not be stepping down. Representative Gina Mitten has announced she is gathering signatures for a petition to force a vote to remove Diehl as speaker during the ongoing investigation. The current session is set to end on Friday, May 15, 2015.

Arlington, Texas – Jeff Williams defeated incumbent Mayor Robert Cluck in the municipal election held on May 9, 2015.  Williams will be sworn in on May 26.  Robert Cluck had served as Mayor for the past 12 years.

Mesquite, TX – Stan Pickett was elected Mayor, defeating incumbent Mayor John Monaco.  Picket will be sworn in on May 20, 2015.

Chicago, IL – Mayor Rahm Emanuel has appointed Ginger Evans as Commissioner of the Department of Aviation, effective June 1, 2015.  Evans is currently Vice President for Engineering at the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.  She replaces Rosemarie Andolino, who stepped down in 2014.  

New York, NY – Richmond County District attorney Daniel Donovan was elected to the U.S. Congress and sworn in on May 12, 2015.  Former Chief Assistant District Attorney Daniel Master was sworn in as Acting District Attorney.

Akron, OH – Mayor Donald L Plusquellic has resigned effective May 31, 2015, citing frustration of the local newspaper’s coverage of Akron City Council events.  Current Council President Garry Moneypenny will serve as Mayor effective June 1, 2015.

Maricopa County, AZ – Former news anchor Fields Moseley of local independent channel KTVK has been hired to head the County’s communications department. His first day is May 14, 2015.

Harris County, TX – Ron Hickman was sworn in this week as County Sheriff. Hickman takes the place of Sheriff Adrian Garcia, who recently announced that he would resign in order to run for Mayor of Houston. Hickman had previously been serving as Precinct 4 Constable for the county. 

Orange County, CA – County Chief Financial Officer Frank Kim was selected to be the County’s next Chief Executive Officer. Kim takes over for retiring CEO Michael Giancola, who had been with the County for thirty years. 

 

 

May 7, 2015

This Week:  Washington State Rep Admits to "Careless Recordkeeping"

Dean Skelos, the most powerful person in the New York State Senate, was arrested on Monday, May 4 and charged with six counts of federal corruption. Skelos, who serves as Temporary President and Republican Majority Leader of the New York Senate, is alleged to have used his position to pressure companies into doing business with his son, Adam Skelos, who also faces charges. Skelos claims he is innocent and has thus far refused to step down from his leadership position, despite increasing calls for his resignation from with his own party. Skelos’ criminal indictment comes four months after Speaker of the House Sheldon Silver was also arrested on corruption charges. U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara led the investigations into both men, and has openly criticized what he refers to as the state’s “three men in a room” culture of lawmaking. With Silver and Skelos facing jail time, it remains to be seen if Bharara goes after the “third man” - Governor Andrew Cuomo.

Washington State Representative Susan Fagan has resigned from office amid allegations she violated the state ethics act. Fagan is accused of falsifying travel expense reports for monetary gain. Fagan, a Republican, represented the 9th District in Southeastern Washington since 2009. In a statement, Fagan announced she would resign effective May 1, but chalked discrepancies in her travel reimbursements up to “careless recordkeeping.” An investigation by the state’s Legislative Ethics Board is still ongoing. 

Stephen Schatz was named Dputy Superintendent of the Hawaii State Department of Education. He previously served as Assistant Superintendent of the Office of Strategy, Innovation and Performance. Schatz replaces Ronn Nozoe, who is now working at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, D.C.  Stephen Schatz is the twin brother of  U.S. Senator Brian Schatz. 

Joliet, IL – Former City Council Member Bob O’Dekirk was sworn in as the new Mayor in Joliet.  He won the election to the position in the April 7 municipal election.  Pat Mudron was elected to the District 2 City council seat, filling O’Dekirk’s former position.

Chicago, IL – Chief Financial Officer Lois Scott has announces that she will resign effective May 20, 2015.  She has served as CFO for four years.  A replacement has not yet been named.

Corpus Christi, TX – Mike Markle has been appointed Interim Chief of Police in Corpus Christi.  He is a 25 year veteran of the department and has served as Assistant Police Chief since May 2012.  Markle replaces Floyd Simpson who died on May 3.

Toledo, OH – Yvonne Harper was elected to the City Council District 4 seat. She will take the oath of office in late May 2015.  Harper fills the seat vacated by Paula Hicks-Hudson, who was appointed Mayor following the death of Mayor Michael Collins.

Upland, CA – Brian Johnson was sworn in as the new Police Chief in Upland.  He is a 26 year veteran of the Los Angeles Police Department.  Johnson replaces Ken Bonson, who has been serving as Acting Chief since January 2015.

Bernalillo County, NM – Christopher Celaya was sworn in as County Fire Chief on Monday. He comes to Bernalillo County from a successful career with the El Paso County fire department, where he most recently served as Deputy Chief of Operations.

Tulsa County, OK – The County has a new Undersheriff – Chief Deputy Rick Weigel replaced previous Undersheriff Tim Albin this week. The change comes after Albin resigned in response to a report indicating that he tampered with employee records in 2009. 

Chicago Transit Authority – Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel named Dorval Carter, Jr. as the next head of the Chicago Transit Authority. Carter comes to the job from Washington, DC, where he currently serves as Acting Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx. Carter will replace current President Forrest Claypool, who will serve as Emanuel’s Chief of Staff once the Mayor’s new term begins.

 

 

April 30, 2015

This Week:  Galloway Sworn in as Missouri State Auditor

Voters in the nation’s capital went to the polls on Tuesday to fill two vacancies on the D.C. Council. Brandon Todd garnered 42 percent of the vote from a field of 13 candidates to win the special election in Ward 4. Todd replaces Muriel Bowser, who resigned her seat in January to serve as the District’s Mayor. Todd previously worked as Director of Community Affairs for Bowser during her tenure on the Council. The election in Ward 8, which has been vacant since the death of the iconic political figure Marion Barry, is still undecided. LaRuby May, who was endorsed by Bowser, currently leads Trayon White by 152 votes, but more than 1,000 special ballots remain uncounted. Marion C. Barry, the son of the late Mayor and Council Member, received seven percent of the vote.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper appointed Irv Halter Jr. to lead the state’s Department of Local Affairs beginning May 1. Halter is a retired Air Force Major General who unsuccessfully ran for Congress in 2014 as a Democrat. The Department of Local Affairs is tasked with providing local government assistance, including affordable housing, property tax administration, and emergency management services.

Nicole Galloway was sworn in as Missouri State Auditor on Monday, April 27. She was appointed by Governor Jay Nixon to fill the unexpired term of Tom Schweich, who passed away from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in February. Galloway appointed John Leutkemeyer to serve as Deputy State Auditor, and named Michael Moorefield as her Chief of Staff.

Fargo, ND – Acting Mayor Tim Mahoney was elected as Mayor of the City of Fargo this week.  He will serve the remainder of the term of Dennis Walaker, who died on December 2, 2014.  Tony Gehrig was elected to fill Mahoney’s former City Commission seat, and will be sworn into office on May 13, 2015. 

Abilene, KS – The City Commission held their reorganizing meeting and elected Dennis Weishaar as Mayor for the 2015 session.  He replaces Brenda Finn Bowers, who did not seek re-election.

Seattle, WA – John Okamoto was sworn into the Seattle City Council this week.  He replaces Sally Clark, who resigned from the City Council for a position with the University of Washington.  Okamoto had been serving as Interim Director of Seattle’s Human Services Department since 2014.

Aiken, SC – John Klimm was sworn in as the new City Manager in Aiken.  He replaces Roger LeDuc, who had been serving as Interim City Manager for the past year.  

Chicago, IL – Mayor Rahm Emanuel has appointed Forrest Claypool as his Chief of Staff, effective May 18.  Claypool is currently President of Chicago Transit Authority.  He replaces Lisa Schrader who is stepping down.  Schrader has served as Chief of Staff since 2013 and has worked for the city for 14 years.

Washington Metro Transit Authority – Keturah Denise Harley was sworn in as a member of the Board of Directors of the Washington Metro Transit Authority. Harley, who was appointed by Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, takes the position previously held by Alvin Nichols, who left the board in January 2015. Harley has previously served as General Counsel and Acting General Director of the District of Columbia Public Employee Relations Board. 

Tulsa County, OK – County Undersheriff Tim Albin resigned this past week in light of an internal review that indicates he had ordered the modification of documentation for a Volunteer Deputy in 2009. 

Lexington County, SC – Jay Koon was sworn in as Sheriff on April 24, after winning a special election last week. The position was left vacant by long time Sheriff James Metts, who resigned before pleading guilty to a federal charge of taking bribes this past December.

 

 

April 23, 2015

This Week:  States' Communications Offices Fraught with Challenges

On Thursday, April 16, a federal grand jury in Seattle indicted Washington State Auditor Troy Kelley on ten counts, include filing false tax returns, obstructing a civil lawsuit, and possessing stolen property.  Kelley announced he will take a leave of absence from his duties as a government official, beginning May 1. For many of Kelley’s colleagues, that is not soon enough. Governor Jay Inslee, a fellow Democrat, sent Kelley a letter calling on him to resign from office immediately, and similar statements have been made by the state’s attorney general, state treasurer, and secretary of state.  The former Democratic State Representative was elected in State Auditor in November 2012. 

Embattled Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane made a series of staff changes this week. Chuck Ardo, the former spokesperson for former Governor Ed Rendell, was appointed as Communications Advisor. He is the seventh person to serve in this capacity since Kane took office 27 months ago. Jonathan Duecker, who most recently led the office’s Bureau of Narcotics Investigation, was appointed Acting Chief of Staff. Kane is currently mired in an ethics scandal regarding her alleged leak of sensitive information to a newspaper, and her office has seen a rash of resignations in the last few months. 

Following a series of public relations headaches in the Hoosier State, the Communications Director for Indiana Governor Mike Pence announced her resignation.  Christy Denault, who became Gov. Pence’s spokesperson after serving in a similar role on his successful gubernatorial campaign in 2012, will step down from her position on May 22. In a resignation letter, Denault wrote “the time has come for me to devote my energy and time to my family.” Denault does have four kids, including a set of triplets, but the timing of her departure raised a few eyebrows. In January, the Indianapolis Star reported that the administration was planning to start JustIN, a news agency that would supply pre-written stories to local outlets. After several journalists compared the plan to that of state-run media in undemocratic countries, Pence terminated the agency. In March, Gov. Pence went on the defensive over the state’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but eventually backtracked and signed an amendment to the law.

Little Rock, AR – Little Rock School District Superintendent Dr. Dexter Suggs has resigned over allegations that he plagiarized portions of his doctoral dissertation.  Marvin Burton is now serving as Interim Superintendent of the school district.                                                                       

Chicago, IL - Chicago Public Schools Chief Executive Officer Barbra Byrd-Bennett has taken a paid leave of absence following a federal investigation over a no-bid contract awarded to a firm where she once worked.  Jesse Ruiz is currently Interim CEO of Chicago Public Schools.

Richmond, VA – Mayor Dwight Jones has appointed Selena Cuffee-Glenn as Chief Administrative Officer for the city, effective May 18, 2015.  She previously worked in planning and community development for the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority and has served as City Manager for Suffolk, VA since 2008.  Cuffee-Glenn replaces Christopher Beschler, who has been serving as Interim CAO since 2014.

Horry County, SC – A special primary election was set for June 16 to select a new District 6 County Councilor. If necessary, the election will continue to a runoff election on June 30 and a special general election on August 4. The position was left vacant after Former Councilor Bob Grabowski died late last month. 

Rockingham County, NH – Rockingham County Sheriff Michael Downing passed away early Friday. Downing had an extensive career in the New Hampshire State Government, including six years as a member of the State House and four years in the State Senate. No successor has been named.

 

 

April 16, 2015

This Week:  Galloway Appointed Missouri State Auditor

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon appointed Nicole Galloway to serve as State Auditor. The 32-year-old Democrat has served as Treasurer of Boone County since 2011. She replaces the late Tom Schweich, who died of a self-inflicted gun wound in February. Galloway will serve until the end of Schweich’s term, which expires in January 2019.

Buddy Roogow, the Executive Director of the DC Lottery, passed away on Saturday, April 11 after suffering a brain aneurysm. Roogow had led the Lottery and Charitable Games Control Board since 2009, and had previously served as Director of Maryland’s Lottery Agency for 13 years beginning in 1996. In a statement, DC Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey DeWitt wrote, “He was a consummate professional, dedicated to making DC’s the best Lottery in the county and worked hard every day to achieve that goal.” Roogow was 65 years old. 

Brian Boner was sworn in as the newest member of the Wyoming State Senate on Friday, April 10. Boner was appointed by commissioners in Converse and Platte Counties to represent District 2. The 30-year-old Republican replaces James Anderson, who resigned in March.  

Florence Republican Jay Jordan was officially elected to the South Carolina House of Representatives on Tuesday, April 14. The results of the special election to fill the vacant 63rd District seat were something of a foregone conclusion, as Jordan faced no Democratic opposition. He received 515 votes in a district of nearly 24,000 registered voters, and will replace Kris Crawford, who resigned from office in December. Jordan won the special Republican primary election in February by taking 55 percent of the vote against stiffer competition.

South Gate, CA - The City Council of South Gate, CA held their reorganizing meeting and elected Jorge Morales as Mayor for the 2015 session. 

Lawrence, KS - The City Council in Lawrence, KS held their reorganizing meeting and elected Jeremy Farmer as Mayor for the 2015 session.  He replaces Mike Amyx, who remains on the City Council. 

Fort Collins, CO – Former City Council Member Wade Troxell was elected Mayor of Fort Collins.  He replaces Karen Weitkunat, who did not run for election.

Jefferson City, MO – Carrie Tergin was elected Mayor of Jefferson City and will be sworn in on April 20, 2015.  She replaces Eric Struemph did not run for another term as Mayor. 

Wichita, KS – Former City Council Member Jeff Longwell was elected Mayor of Wichita.  He replaces Carl Brewer, who had served as Mayor since 2007. 

East St. Louis, IL – Former City Council Member Emeka Jackson-Hicks defeated incumbent Alvin Parks in the race for Mayor of East St. Louis, IL. 

Chicago, IL – Lisa Schrader, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Chief of Staff for the past two years, has announced that she will leave the Mayor’s staff in late May 2015, for a position in the private sector.

Albuquerque, NM – Luis Valentino has been named Superintendent of Albuquerque Schools, effective July 1, 2015.  He previously served as an Associate Superintendent with the San Francisco United School District. Valentino replaces Brad Winter, who has been serving as Interim Superintendent since 2014.

York County, PA – The Board of County Commissioners chose Terry Clark as the County’s next Executive Director of the Office of Children, Youth, and Family. Clark, who has been with the County since 2002, replaces former Director Kimberly James, who left the position in November 2014.

Massachusetts Bay Transpiration Authority - Frank DePaola has been appointed Interim General Manager for the Authority, as former General Manager Beverly Scott stepped down in a planned move this past week. DePaola previously served as Acting Secretary and Chief Executive Officer of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

 

 

April 9, 2015 

This Week:  Wyoming Mourns Death of State Representative

The top aide to embattled Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane has left the office.  Blake Rutherford, who was brought on board Kane’s staff as Chief of Staff last December, resigned this week after spending fewer than four months on the job. Rutherford announced he was resigning to take a position at Philadelphia law firm Cozen O’Connor, but his sudden departure is one more piece in a long line of bad press for Attorney General Kane. On March 31, the State Supreme Court ruled that special prosecutors could continue to investigate allegations that Kane illegally leaked information to embarrass a critic. A day later, the Philadelphia Inquirer broke a story alleging Kane undermined a corruption investigation against former campaign supporter Louis DeNaples. Two days after that, Rutherford announced his resignation. He is the second recently-hired Kane staffer to jump ship in as many months - communications director Aaron Sadler served only two months before quitting in early March. 

Republicans swept a series of legislative special elections this Tuesday in the state of Florida. Travis Hutson was elected to represent District 6 in the State Senate. The St. Augustine Republican replaces John Thrasher, who resigned late last year to begin serving as President of Florida State University. Per state law, both Hutson and his primary opponent Ronald Renuart were forced to resign from their seats in the state House of Representatives to run for the vacant Senate post, and two special elections to fill the seats they vacated were also held on Tuesday. Cyndi Stevenson will replace Renuart in District 17, and Paul Renner will take Hutson’s spot on District 24. All three victorious candidates were sworn in on Wednesday, April 8. 

Wyoming State Representative John W. Patton passed away on Sunday, April 5, at the age of 84. Patton suffered a heart attack in Cheyenne on February 17 while participating in the state’s most recent legislative session. He had served in the state House of Representatives from 1961 to 1965, and later in the State Senate from 1967 to 1971. Nearly four decades later, he ran for office in the state house again, and was elected to represent District 29 in 2008.  

Chicago, IL – The city held runoff elections on May 7 for the office of Mayor and several City Council seats.  Rahm Emanuel was re-elected Mayor of Chicago. 

St. Louis, MO – Mayor Francis Slay has appointed Melba Moore as Acting Director of the St. Louis Department of Health.  She replaces Pam Walker, who served as Director for the past eight years.  Moore is currently the Health Commissioner for St. Louis. 

Mesa, AZ – John Meza has been appointed permanent Chief of Police in Mesa.  He had been serving as Interim Chief of Police since earlier this year.  He replaces John Milstead, who now serves as Director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

Newark, NJ – Mayor Ras Baraka has appointed Marjorie Harris as the city’s new Press Secretary, a position that had been vacant.  Harris will report to recently hired Communications director Felipe Liciano.

New York, NY – Mayor Bill de Blasio has appointed Rachel Lauter as the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Appointments.  She had previously served in the Mayor’s office as Counsel for City Legislative Affairs.  Lauter replaces Chloe Drew.

Macomb County, MI – Former Macomb County Assistant Executive Melissa Roy began her job as executive director of the public private partnership Advancing Macomb. John Paul Rea stepped into her position on Monday, April 6, 2015. 

Westlands Water District, CA – Johnny Amaral, current Chief of Staff for U.S. Representative Devin Nunes, has been chosen to join Westlands Water District as Deputy General Manager for External Relations. His first day at Westlands will be May 1, 2015.

 

 

April 2, 2015

This Week:  State Representative Klingenschmitt Disciplined by House

Colorado House Republicans disciplined State Representative Gordon Klingenschmitt following controversial statements he made regarding the brutal attack of pregnant woman. Klingenschmitt is a former U.S. Air Force chaplain who hosts a daily online talk show about religion and politics. While speaking about the stabbing of a pregnant Colorado woman resulting in the death of her 34-week-old fetus, the pro-life representative said, “This is the curse of God upon America for our sin of not protecting innocent children in the womb.” Following widespread outrage over the remarks, House Minority Leader Brian DelGrosso removed Klingenschmitt from the Health, Insurance and Environment Committee. Lang Sias, who was appointed to the State House in January, will take Klingenschmitt’s place on the committee. Klingenschmitt later apologized for the remarks and announced he will suspend his television ministry for six weeks. Klingenschmitt is serving his first term in the House after being elected to represent the Colorado Springs area District 15 in November.

South Dakota State Senator Dan Lederman announced his resignation from the legislature on Monday, March 30, the date the 2015 session adjourned. Lederman, a Republican, had represented District 16 in the State Senate since 2011, and had previously served a single term in the House of Representative before that.  In a statement on his website, Lederman wrote, “My time in Pierre in done for now. I am in your debt as I begin repaying a debt of love to my family.” Governor Dennis Daugaard is tasked with selecting a replacement. Lederman endorsed State Representative Jim Bolin to fill the vacant seat.

Ohio Governor John Kasich appointed Maj. Gen. Mark E. Bartman to serve as the state’s Adjutant General. In this position, he will serve in the Governor’s cabinet and command the Ohio National Guard, which totals more than 17,000 people. Bartman had been serving as Interim Adjutant General since January. He has spent over thirty years serving in the U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard. 

Bellflower, CA – The City Council held their reorganizing meeting and elected Scott Larsen as Mayor for the 2015 session.  He replaces Sonny R. Santa Ines, who remains on the City Council.

Bellevue, WA – City Manager Brad Miyake has appointed Mark Risen as permanent Fire Chief.  Risen had been serving as Interim Chief for the past year.  He is a 32 year veteran of the Bellevue Fire Department. 

New York, NY – Mayor Bill de Blasio has appointed Thomas Snyder as his new Chief of Staff, effective April 2015.  Snyder had previously served as Political Director for UNITE HERE International Union. 

New York, NY – Kyle Kimball, the President of the New York City Economic Development Corporation, has announced that he will step down on June 1, 2015.  He has worked for the EDC since 2008 and was appointed President in 2013 by then Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, Washington, DC – Corbett Price and Leif Dormsjo were sworn in as Members of the WMATA Board of Directors. Price and Dormsjo, along with Tom Bulger and City Councilman Jack Evans, make up representation for the District of Columbia on the Transit Authority’s board. 

Bernalillo County, NM – Larry Allen was sworn in as the County’s second Undersheriff under new county Sheriff Manuel Gonzales. Rudy Mora also serves as Undersheriff, with Allen heading the administrative side of the department and Mora handling operations. 

 

 

March 26, 2015

This Week:  Republican Upsets Tradtion and Wins Philadelphia District House Seat

Democrats suffered an embarrassing loss in Tuesday’s special election to fill the vacant 170th District seat in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. Republican Martina White, a 26-year-old financial advisor, defeated Democrat Sarah Del Ricci with 57 percent of the vote, which is the same percentage Barack Obama received when he carried the district in the 2012 presidential election. Democrats outnumber Republicans by a margin of 2 to 1 in the district, which lies completely within Philadelphia city limits on the Northeast side. Brendan Boyle resigned from the seat in January after being elected to the U.S. House of Representatives, and publicly advocated Seth Kaplan to be his replacement. Newly-elected Lieutenant Governor Mike Stack, who is the Democratic ward leader in the district, selected Del Ricci as the party’s nominee. This infighting led to a split among traditionally Democratic labor unions, and many publicly supported White’s election. Despite her upset win, White is expected to face a difficult path to reelection in 2016, when higher Democratic turnout is expected for the presidential election.

 Alaska Governor Bill Walker has opened a new regional office in the state’s Matanuska-Susitna Borough. The office will be located in the borough seat of Palmer, which is less than an hour from Anchorage. Mat-Su is the quickest growing region in the state, and serves as a leading agricultural hub.  Sarah Heath was named Director of the Mat-Su office.

The Joseph Morrissey saga continues in Richmond, Virginia. The politician, who in January won a special election to the Virginia House of Delegates while serving a prison term for having a sexual relationship with a minor, announced he would resign from his seat to run for State Senate. Morrissey is seeking the Democratic nomination for the District 16 seat currently held by Rosalyn Dance. Virginia will hold a primary on June 9 of this year, and the general election will be held on November 3. 

Toledo, OH – City Councilman and Former Mayor Jack Ford passed away on March 21, 2015.  He had served on the City Council since 2014.  Ford also served in the Ohio House of Representatives from 1994-2002.

Decatur, IL – The City Council has approved Timothy Gleason as the new City Manager for Decatur.  He previously served as City Administrator for Washington, IL.  He replaces Ryan McCrady who left in December 2014.

Alexandria, VA – Yon Lambert has been hired as the permanent Director of Transportation and Environmental Services.  He had been serving as Acting Director since August 2014.

Allentown, PA – The Allentown City Council approved the appointment of Lindsay Taylor as the city’s new Parks and Recreation Director.  Taylor had served as Parks Director in Lower Providence Township, PA.

Berks County, PA – The County recently became the first in Pennsylvania to establish a separate Department of Agriculture. Tami Hildebrand serves as Executive Director. The Department will focus on preserving viable agricultural land within the county.

Kent County, MI – Steve Kelso has been appointed to head the Marketing Department for the Kent County Health Department. Kelso, currently a reporter with local NBC affiliate WOOD, replaces Lisa LaPlante, who was promoted in January to Community Liaison and Communications Director for the County. Kelso’s first day with the Department is April 6, 2015

Wayne County, MI – Wayne County Executive Warren Evans has chosen Richard Kaufman as the county’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer. Kaufman has previously served on Evans’ transition team, and as Chief Judge on the Wayne County Circuit Court. His first day is April 1, 2015.

 

 

March 19, 2015

This Week:  New Mexico's Senator Resigns over Alledged Real Estate Scandal

Governor Rick Snyder appointed energy executive Nick Khouri to serve as Michigan’s next State Treasurer.Khouri was most recently Senior Vice President at DTE Energy Company, where he oversaw regulatory and community affairs. He will replace Kevin Clinton, who will return to the private sector after having led the Department of Treasury since October 2013.  Khouri’s appointment, which is subject to State Senate confirmation, is effective April 20. 

New Mexico State Senator Phil Griego resigned over the weekend after being implicated in an ethics scandal. The Democrat from District 39 was one of several legislators who voted in late 2014 to approve the sale of a governor-owned building. Griego was later chosen to serve as a broker of the deal by the business that purchased the building. Critics allege that he profited off of a legislative action and violated state ethics rules. Griego was first elected to the State Senate in 1996, and served as Chair of the Corporations and Transportation committee. Governor Susana Martinez will pick a successor from a list of names provided by county commissioners within Griego’s former district. 

Governor Larry Hogan appointed three new members to the Maryland House of Delegates on Friday, March 13.Washington County Commissioner Bill Wivell will fill the vacancy in District 2A created when former delegate Andrew Serafini was appointed to the State Senate last month. April Rose will replace Justin Ready, who was also appointed to the State Senate, in District 5. Michael Malone was chosen to replace Cathy Vitale, who resigned to serve as a circuit court judge in Anne Arundel County, in District 33. All three new State Delegates are members of the Republican Party.

Greensboro, NC – Wayne Scott has been promoted to Chief of Police in Greensboro.  Scott is a 24 year veteran of the Greensboro Police Department, most recently serving as Deputy Chief.  He replaces Ken Miller, who resigned to take a position as Chief of Police in Greenville, SC. 

Fairfield, CA – Joseph Allio has been hired as the new Chief of Police.  Allio has been a member of the Fairfield Police Department since 1987.  He replaces Walt Tibbet, who retired.

New York, NY – Mayor Bill de Blasio has appointed Helen Schaub, K. Sabeel Rahman and Scott Walsh to the New York City Rent Guidelines Board.  The Board determines annual rent adjustments for approximately one million apartments across the city subject to the Rent Stabilization Law.

Arlington County, VA – County Manager Barbara Donnellan announced her retirement last week after over thirty years with the county. Donnellan’s last day is June 30, 2015. 

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority – Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti announced Phillip Washington as his pick for next head of the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority. Washington is currently General Manager of the Denver Regional Transportation District, and would replace Art Leahy, who is retiring in April after six years as Chief Executive Officer.

Frederick County, MD – County Executive Jan Gardner has chosen Tom Owens as the county’s next head of Fire and Rescue Services. Owens served in the position previously, ending in June of 2013, and took over for Denise Pouget on Monday.

  

 

March 12, 2015

This Week:  Atkins Appointed as Oregon Secretary of State

Oregon Governor Kate Brown appointed Jeanne Atkins to serve the remainder of her term as Secretary of State. She was sworn into office on Wednesday, March 11. Robert Taylor had been serving as Acting Secretary of State since Brown left the position in mid-February to replace scandal-plagued Governor John Kitzhaber. Atkins is a former congressional staffer who served as Director of U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley’s Portland office since 2009.  Atkins has announced that she will not run for election to the seat in the 2016 election.

Idaho Governor Butch Otter appointed Democrat Maryanne Jordan to represent the state’s 17th District in the State Senate. Jordan currently serves as President of the Boise City Council, having first been appointed to that body in 2003, and will continue to hold that position while she is in the Senate. She was one of three nominees submitted to Governor Otter by the local Democratic Party. Jordan fills a vacancy caused by the resignation of Elliott Werk, who left the State Senate in February to serve on the Idaho Tax Commission.

Anne “Pinny” Beebe-Center won a special election held Tuesday, March 10, to fill the vacancy in the Maine House of Representatives’ District 93 seat. Beebe-Center is a Democrat from the coastal town of Rockland. Beebe-Center replaces Elizabeth Dickerson, who resigned in January to move to Colorado.

Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has appointed Karin Zosel to lead Get Covered Illinois, the state’s health insurance exchange. Zosel holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale and previously served as an officer in the Central Intelligence Agency. She replaces Jennifer Koehler, who resigned in February.

Seattle, WA – Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole has announced a major reorganization in the Department.  She fired four Assistant Chiefs and replaced them with Lesley Cordner and Steve Wilske, both from the Seattle Police Department.  The other two new Assistant Chiefs are Robert Merner, who served with O’Toole when she was with the Boston Police Department, and Perry Tarrant, who comes from the Yakima, WA Police Department.  O’Toole has also hired Greg Russell as the Department’s Chief Information Officer.  Russell previously served as a Vice President with Amazon. 

New York, NY – Mayor Bill de Blasio has appointed Gail Nayowith to serve on the New York Board of Health.  She is the first appointment to the board from de Blasio and serves with eight other members who were appointed by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Arvada, CO – Rita McConnell has been appointed as the new Director of Community Development in Arvada.  She previously served as the Planning and Zoning Manager.  McConnell replaces Mike Elms, who had a 33 year career in Arvada, most recently serving as Director of Community Development since 1988.

Biloxi, MS – The Biloxi City Council elected Council President Kenny Glavan as Acting Mayor.  Glavan replaces A.J. Holloway who resigned, citing health reasons. The City Council also elected Felix O. Gines as the new Council President. 

Albany, NY – Police Chief Steven Krokoff has announced that he will retire, effective April 1, 2015.  He has served as Chief since 2010.  Deputy Chief of Police Brendan Cox will serve as Acting Chief upon Krokoff’s retirement.

Harrison County, MS – John Johnson was sworn in on Monday to the District 4 seat of the Harrison County Board of Supervisors. Johnson was appointed to finish out the term of Supervisor William Martin, who passed away at the end of February.

El Paso County, TX – The El Paso County Commissioners Court appointed Ruben Gonzales as the next county Tax Assessor-Collector. Gonzales will finish out the last two years of the term of longtime County Assessor-Collector Victor Flores, who retired in February because of health issues.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, New York, NY – The executive offices of the Port Authority are moving to the Twenty-third floor of 4 World Trade Center. The administrative functions will gradually move from the Port Authority’s current offices at 255 Park Avenue South.

 

 

March 5, 2015

This Week:  Tragic End for Missouri's State Auditor

Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich, who had announced a campaign for governor in January, was killed on Thursday, February 26. Police responded to a call at his Clayton residence early that morning, where they found Schweich suffering from injuries sustained by a self-inflicted gunshot wound. After rushing Schweich to a local hospital, he was declared deceased in what authorities have described as an apparent suicide. Schweich was a popular public servant who was reelected to a second term as State Auditor in November. He was a month into a campaign for the Republican nomination for Governor, and was facing tough attacks from opponent Catherine Hanaway. Just minutes before police responded to a 911 call from his residence, Schweich had apparently left a message on a local reporter’s phone inviting him to the house. Schweich was apparently frustrated after discovering state GOP official John Hancock had allegedly started a “whisper campaign” about his Jewish heritage, and wanted to speak with the reporter about the story.  

Schweich was first elected to be State Auditor in 2010, and was reelected without Democratic opposition four years later. During the George W. Bush administration, he served as Chief of Staff to three U.N. Ambassadors, and later became Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs.  Following news of Schweich’s death, state political leaders issued a series of statements memorializing the late politician. U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill wrote, “He was a good man, and a dedicated public servant, who served our country in so many capacities.” Over 700 people attended Schweich’s funeral on March 3, including John Danforth, his former boss at the United Nations and an elder statesman of Missouri politics. Danforth gave a eulogy for Schweich in which he criticized personal campaign attacks and called for civility in politics.

Republican candidate Steve West was elected to represent Kentucky State Senate District 27 in a special election on Tuesday, March 3. West defeated Democrat Kelly Caudill by taking 54 percent of the vote. West will replace Walter Blevins, who resigned in January to become judge-executive of Rowan County. 

Dayton, Ohio – Ford P. Weber III was hired as the new Director of Economic Development for Dayton, effective March 30, 2015.  Weber comes to the Dayton Department of Economic Development from the position of President and CEO of Lucas County, OH Improvement Corporation.

Carmel, IN – Mayor Jim Brainard has appointed David Haboush as the next Fire Chief. He replaces Matt Hoffman who resigned.  Haboush has worked for the Carmel Fire Department since 1992, most recently as House Captain. 

Miami Gardens, FL – Stephen Jones was fired as Miami Gardens’ Police Chief following his arrest in a prostitution sting operation.  Antonio G. Brooklen is now serving as the Acting Chief of Police. 

Denton, TX – City Manager George Campbell has appointed Melissa Kraft as Director of Technology Services.  Kraft has worked for the city since 2008 and brings 15 years of technical experience to the position. 

Cuyahoga County, OH– County Executive Armond Budish announced two more nominations for leadership positions. Mark Griffin, currently a partner with Thorman Petrov Griffin specializing in whistleblower cases, was nominated as Inspector General. Michael Dever, who currently serves as Deputy Director and Maintenance Administrator for the Public Works Department was nominated as Director of the same department. Both nominations must be approved by the Cuyahoga County Council  

Lackawanna County, PA- County Commissioner Corey O’Brien announced this week that he will be resigning from his post on March 10. O’Brien cited an opportunity in the private sector as his reason for resigning. A replacement will be chosen by the County Judges in the first two weeks following his resignation.


 

Feburary 26, 2015

This Week:  State Representative J. Basil Dannebohm's Sudden Resignation

Kansas State Representative J. Basil Dannebohm announced his immediate resignation on Tuesday, February 24.Dannebohm suffers from young onset Parkinson’s disease, and said that his diagnosis prevented him from being able to perform his duties as a legislator. He was elected to his first term last November, and during his six weeks in office worked as an advocate for Parkinson’s awareness and medical marijuana legalization. 

Elliot Werk is the newest member of the Idaho State Tax Commission. Governor Butch Otter appointed Werk, the Assistant Minority Leader of the Idaho State Senate, to serve on the four-member board on Tuesday, February 17. Werk has since resigned from the State Senate, where he had been serving since 2002. The Democratic caucus has since appointed Cherie Buckner-Webb to replace Werk as Assistant Minority Leader. Governor Otter will choose a replacement to fill Werk’s vacant District 17 seat. 

Jamel Holley was sworn in as New Jersey’s newest Assembly Member on Monday, February 23. Holley, the former Mayor of Roselle, N.J., was selected by the local Union County Democratic Party to fill a vacant 20th District seat. He replaces Joe Cryan, who resigned from the Assembly earlier this year to serve as Union County Sheriff. 

Chicago, IL – The city held elections for the positions of Mayor, Clerk, Treasurer and all 50 Alderman seats this week.  The City Clerk, Treasurer and 29 incumbent Aldermen were re-elected.  The two newly elected Aldermen are David H. Moore in Ward 17 and Carlos Ramirez-Rosa in Ward 35.  All other city council seats and Rahm Emanuel’s run for re-election as Mayor will be decided in the April 7, 2015 runoff election. 

St. Paul, MN– William Finney was appointed to fill the vacant Ward 7 seat on St. Paul’s City Council.  Finney is a former Police Chief for St. Paul.  He replaces Kathy Lantry, who was also serving as Council President.  Lantry was appointed Director of Public Works for St. Paul, effective March 1, 2015. 

Glendale, AZ – Dick Bowers has been appointed Acting City Manager for Glendale.  He had served as Acting City Manager in 2013 as well.  Bowers replaces Brenda Fischer, who resigned suddenly.

McKinney, TX – Barry Shelton has been hired as an Assistant City Manager.  He has been serving as Interim Assistant City Manager since March 2014, while continuing his duties as Executive Director of the Development Services Department.  The city is conducting a search to fill the Development Services Department position.

Cuyahoga County, OH – County Executive Armond Budish has named Dennis Kennedy as the County’s next Fiscal Officer. Kennedy, who’s appointment is subject to County Council approval, will replace current Acting Fiscal Officer Mark Parks. Budish also appointed Chris Murray as County Treasurer. Murray will replace Interim Treasurer William Sheehan. 

Nassau County, NY – James Kennedy won Tuesday’s special election to fill former County Legislator Michael Venditto’s seat. Venditto vacated the position as representative of the 12th district after being elected to the State Senate last November. The County will hold another special election in just two weeks to fill the 19th District vacancy left by David Denenberg when he pled guilty to felony mail fraud charges.  

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority – Massachusetts Department of Transportation Highway Administrator Frank DePaola was chosen to serve as Interim General Manager for the MBTA. The decision follows last week’s announcement by current General Manager Beverly Scott that she will be leaving the authority in April. DePaola begins on March 4, 2015.

 

 

February 19, 2015

 This Week:  Arizona's Ducey and Douglas Butting Heads

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber announced on Friday, February 13, that he would step down from office, ending his tenure as the longest-serving Governor in state history. Kitzhaber’s downfall stems from a potential conflict of interest related to his fiancée, Cylvia Hayes, who worked as a paid consultant for a green energy company at the same time she was listed as an employee of the Governor’s office. With a criminal investigation into his activities looming, and after several high-level state Democrats called for his resignation, Kitzhaber sent a letter to Secretary of State Kate Brown announcing he would leave his position effective February 18. Kitzhaber, a former physician, served two terms as Governor of the Beaver State from 1995 to 2003. He ran again in 2010, and was elected to an unprecedented third term, but it was marred by the failure of the state-run health insurance exchange Cover Oregon. Kitzhaber defeated Republican nominee Dennis Richardson in the 2014 gubernatorial election, but lasted less than six weeks into the new term before resigning. 

Moments after Kitzhaber’s resignation, Kate Brown was sworn into office as the state’s 38th Governor. Oregon is one of five states that do not have a lieutenant governor, and the state constitution dictates that the Secretary of State will succeed the Governor if necessary. As Governor, Brown has the power to appoint her replacement as Secretary of State. Until she does so, Deputy Secretary of State Robert Taylor will serve as Acting Secretary of State. Brown is the second women to serve as Oregon’s top executive, and, in a show of America’s increasing acceptance of the LGBT community, she is the first openly bisexual person to serve as Governor of any U.S. state. She began her career in politics when she was elected to the Oregon House of Representatives in 1990, and later served 12 years in the Oregon Senate before being elected Secretary of State. 

Despite both being members of the same political party, Arizona’s new Governor and new top education official are already butting heads. Diane Douglas, a Republican and the state’s newly-elected Superintendent of Public Instruction, fired State Board of Education Executive Director Christine Thompson and an assistant on Wednesday, February 11. Douglas claimed that the two employees were opposed to her effort to repeal Common Core, which was the primary platform of her recent campaign. One day later, Governor Doug Ducey, also a member of the GOP, reinstated the two staffers, saying Douglas did not have the authority to terminate their employment. Douglas fired back with a press release, amusingly titled, “Arizona Superintendent of Public Schools Diane Douglas Did Not See Doug Ducey’s Name on the Ballot for State Superintendent”,  which claimed the state constitution did grant her authority to fire Board of Education employees. This public spat has cast a spotlight on one of the most unusual winners of the 2014 election cycle. Douglas was a relatively unknown candidate who, despite low campaign funds and a one-issue platform, successfully challenged incumbent John Huppenthal in the primary election before narrowly defeating Democratic nominee David Garcia in November. Her critics launched a recall effort before she was even inaugurated, which has gained momentum since this recent incident.

Toledo, OH – City Council President Paula Hicks-Hudson was sworn in as permanent Mayor of Toledo.  She had been serving as Acting Mayor since D Michael Collins was hospitalized following a heart attack.  Collins passed away on February 5, 2015. Paula Hicks-Hudson will complete the term, through December 2018. 

Boston, MA - Mayor Martin J. Walsh has appointed Miren Uriarte to the Boston School Committee, the governing body of the Boston Public Schools (BPS). Uriarte is a University of Massachusetts, Boston faculty member. 

Costa Mesa, CA - Ron Lowenberg has been hired as the Interim Police Chief in Costa Mesa. He retired from the Huntington Beach, CA Police department as Chief of Police. Chief Lowenberg will work closely with Capt. Rob Sharpnack, who has been Acting Police Chief since December.  

Akron, OH - Mayor Don Plusquellic has appointed Deputy Fire Chief Edward Hiltbrand as the new Fire Chief.  He has served in Akron’s Fire Department for 29 years, the past nearly 12 years as Deputy Chief.   Hiltbrand replaces retired Fire Chief Robert Ross, who is now serving as Deputy Mayor for Public Safety for Mayor Plusquellic. 

Visalia, CA – Jason Salazar has been appointed the next Police Chief in Visalia.  He replaces Colleen Mestas who officially retires in April, 2015.  Salazar is currently serving as Acting chief until Mestas’ retirement.

Kansas City Area Transportation Authority – The KCATA Board of Commissioners selected Joe Reardon to be the organization’s next President and CEO. Reardon, who starts in March, formerly served as Mayor and CEO of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, KS, and is currently an attorney at the law firm McAnany, Van Cleave & Phillips.

Gloucester County, NJ- Jim Jefferson was sworn into the Gloucester County Board of Freeholders this week after being selected by the Gloucester County Democratic Committee. Jefferson fills the vacancy left by Adam Taliaferro, who was reelected to the seat in November but was selected in January to fill a vacancy at the state level as representative for Legislative District 3. 

Orange County, CA– Susan Novak retires this week as Clerk to the Board of County Supervisors. Novak has worked at the County for 32 years, with 18 years in the Office of the Clerk of the Board. The County is currently seeking a replacement and has not yet named a successor. 

 

 

February 12, 2015

This Week:  Trouble in Arizona's Department of Child Safety

Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, just a few months removed from winning election to his fourth term in office, is facing the fight of his political life, and even found himself on the brink of resignation. Kitzhaber is embroiled in an ethics scandal related to his fiancée, Cylvia Hayes, and her work as a consultant. Critics have alleged that Hayes used her position as First Lady to land contracts for her consultant business. Since the scandal broke, Hayes no longer appears on the Oregon government’s website, and Governor Kitzhaber insists she no longer has any political connection to his administration, although their engagement is still ongoing. On Wednesday, the Oregonian newspaper reported that Kitzhaber had planned to resign this week before changing his mind after meeting with his attorney. Hayes was the subject of controversy last October when a local paper revealed she had been paid money to marry an immigrant in exchange for residency.

New Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts is looking to the Bayou State to staff his state’s health department. Ricketts recently appointed Courtney Phillips, current Deputy Secretary of Louisiana’s Department of Health and Hospitals, to serve as Chief Executive Officer of the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services. He later named Phillips’ colleague Calder Lynch, the Chief of Staff at DHH, to lead the Division of Medicaid and Long Term Care within the same department. Lynch will make the approximately 800 mile move north from Baton Rouge to Lincoln in early March, and Phillips will follow suit in early April. Hugh Eley, the recently-retired head of Louisiana’s Office of Aging and Adult Services, will take Phillips place as Deputy Secretary. 

New Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has fired the head of the Department of Child Safety and replaced him with a former police investigator. Charles Flanagan had led the department since its creation in May 2014, but was terminated following a class-action lawsuit alleging the department’s foster-child program put children at greater harm.  Ducey named Greg McKay the next Director of the Department. McKay currently leads the agency’s Office of Child Welfare Investigations, and in 2013 he discovered that over 6,000 reports of child abuse had been neglected by the state government. McKay’s investigation prompted a major reorganization in the state’s child welfare system.  

Toledo, OH – Mayor D. Michael Collins passed away on February 5, 2015.  He was hospitalized following a heart attack while driving last week.  He had served as Mayor since 2014 and as a City Council member from 2008-2014.  City Council President Paula Hicks-Hudson was sworn in as Acting Mayor for the city of Toledo.

Chicago, IL – City Alderman JoAnn Thompson has passed away.  She had served on the Chicago City Council since 2007 and was a candidate for the February 2015 election.  Thompson had also served as a Cook County Department of Corrections Lieutenant. 

El Monte, CA – Eric McBride has been hired as the next Chief of Police, effective February 25, 2015.  McBride will replace Interim Police Chief Roger Johnson.  Johnson has been serving as Interim Chief since Steve Schuster retired in December 2014. 

Newark, NJ – Newark Corporation Counsel Karen Brown abruptly resigned.  She was appointed by Newark Mayor Ras Baraka on July 1, 2014.  Vivian Sanks King is now serving as Acting Corporation Counsel. 

Jackson, MS – Kenneth Stokes was appointed to fill the vacant City Council Seat. He resigned as a member of the Hinds County Board of Supervisors to accept the appointment, leaving a vacancy on the Board.  Stokes had previously served on the Jackson City Council. 

Boise, ID – Mayor David Bieter has appointed Scot Ludwig as the newest City Council member.  Ludwig fills a vacancy following the Fall 2014 retirement of David Eberle.

Modesto, CA – City Manager James Holgersson has announced that Bill Sandhu is the new Director of the Public Works Department.  Sandhu has been serving as Interim Public Works Director since June 2014.  He has worked for the city for 10 years and has a total of 20 years working in the public works field.

Frederick County, MD – County Executive Jan Gardner named Steve Horn as Director of the county’s Community Development Division. Mr. Horn will start on February 23, 2015, replacing current Acting Division Director Garry Hessong, who will continue on in his position as Director of the Department of Permits and Inspections.

Hillsborough County, FL– Current Deputy Superintendent of Schools Jeff Eakins was named acting Superintendent, effective March 6, 2015. The announcement comes after a 4-3 vote by the School Board last month to terminate the contract of current Superintendent Maryellen Elia two years early. 

Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority – MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott announced her resignation this week. Scott has headed the Authority for two years and has set April 11, 2015 as her last day, citing a desire to keep the transition in leadership as smooth as possible.

 

 

 

February 5, 2015

This Week:  Tea Party Favorite May Run in KY Governor's Race

Pennsylvania State Treasurer Rob McCord resigned from office immediately on Friday, January 30, and announced he would plead guilty to two charges of attempted extortion.  McCord was first elected to the Treasurer position in 2008, and was reelected four years later. He ran for the Democratic nomination for Governor in 2014, and it was during that campaign that McCord is alleged to have illegally used his position as State Treasurer to pressure potential donors to support his candidacy.  In a video statement announcing his resignation, McCord explained that he had met with the donors and  “by developing talking points to remind them that I could make things difficult for them, I essentially said that the potential contributors should not risk making an enemy of the state treasurer.” McCord initially announced his resignation on January 29, saying he would remain in office for two more weeks, but mounting public pressure forced him to step down immediately. Christopher Craig will serve as Acting State Treasurer until Governor Tom Wolf can nominate a replacement.

Carl Heastie, a 47-year old Democrat, was elected as Speaker of the New York State Assembly on Tuesday, February 3.  He replaces Sheldon Silver, who led the Assembly for over 20 years before resigning after his arrest on federal charges last month. Heastie represents District 83 in the northeastern Bronx, and was elected to his eighth term in office last November. He is the first black speaker in the Assembly’s history. 

The 2014 election cycle may be over, but the 2015 election season is just getting started. Three states, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi, will each hold gubernatorial elections this November. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear is unable to run for reelection, and a host of candidates are throwing their hats in the ring. State Attorney General Jack Conway has declared his candidacy for the Democratic nomination for Governor, and Tea Party favorite Matt Bevin, who made waves during his failed run for the U.S. Senate last year, just announced a run in the Republican primary. U.S. Senator David Vitter is the favorite in the race to succeed Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, but Lt. Govenor Jay Dardenne will challenge him in the Republican primary. Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant has announced he will run for a second term in office, and so far faces no challengers on either side of the aisle. 

Richmond, VA – Mayor Dwight C. Jones has appointed Alfred Durham as the next Chief of Police, effective February 21, 2015.  Durham replaces Ray Tarasovic, who announced his retirement earlier this year.  Durham has been serving as Deputy Chief since 2014, and had a 25 year career with the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, DC. 

Los Angeles, CA – Los Angeles World Airports Executive Director Gina Marie Lindsey has announced that she will retire in Spring 2015.  Lindsey was appointed Executive Director in 2007 and has been working in the aviation industry for 33 years.  The Los Angeles Mayor and the Airport Commissioners will work together to choose Lindsey’s successor. 

Mesa, AZ – John Meza has been selected as Interim Police Chief in Mesa.  He replaces Frank Milstead, who was recently appointed Director of Public Safety by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey.  Meza has been serving as Assistant Chief of Police since 2008, and is a 28 year veteran of the department.

Cuyahoga County, OH– Former State Representative Michael Foley stepped into his role as head of the county’s newly established Department of Sustainability. The department will help county residents and businesses achieve environmental sustainability in a financially beneficial way.  Also in Cuyahoga County, Clifford Pinkney was appointed Sheriff. He has been with the Sheriff’s office for 24 years, and replaces Frank Bova. 

Orange County, CA– After a tight race for the County Supervisor seat left behind by newly elected State Senator Janet Nguyen, Andrew Do defeated Lou Correa by a margin of just 42 votes. Do was sworn in on Tuesday, February 3.  

Wayne County, MI– County Executive Warren Evans continued to fill out his staff roster this week, appointing Genelle Allen, former interim CEO of the Wayne County Airport Authority, as Deputy Executive. She joins Mr. June Lee, who served as Chief of Staff for former Executive Robert Ficano and was appointed Deputy Executive by Evans earlier this month.

 

 

January 29, 2015

This Week: Illinois "Turnaround Team" and Controversy in Pennsylvania

Sheldon Silver, the Speaker of the New York Assembly and one of the most powerful figures in Albany politics, was arrested on federal corruption charges Thursday, January 22. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara led the investigation into Silver, and alleged that the Speaker wielded his political power to collect roughly $4 million through bribes and kickbacks over the last decade-and-a-half. Among the charges is the allegation that Silver funneled $500,000 in state funds to a cancer researcher, who in turn referred patients to a personal-injury law firm which had Silver on payroll. Silver is alleged to have pocketed millions of dollars from these asbestos-related lawsuits. In total, he faces five counts which each carry a maximum of 20 years in prison. 

Silver was first elected Speaker in 1994 and has served alongside five different Governors, including both the late Mario Cuomo and his son, current Governor Andrew Cuomo. He has represented a portion of lower Manhattan in the State Assembly since 1977. On the Monday following his arrest, reports indicated that Silver would cede his duties as Speaker to a group of five Democrats, but still keep his official title. Several members of the Democratic caucus were unhappy with this plan, and after a closed door meeting with the caucus, it was announced that Silver would vacate the Speaker position by February 2. Joseph Morelle will serve as Interim Speaker until the caucus votes on a permanent replacement February 10.  

New Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner made a series of high-level appointments to what he is referring to as his “Turnaround Team.” The biggest name is former Hawaii Governor Linda Lingle, who will serve in a part-time role as Senior Adviser until taking on the full-time job of Chief Operating Officer mid-year.  Rauner also appointed Donna Arduin, a state budget official under former New York Governor George Pataki and California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, to serve as Chief Financial Officer. Former Georgia Chief Operating Officer Trey Childress will serve as Deputy Governor. 

Liz Muoio, the Chair of the Mercer County Democratic Committee, was selected by her colleagues to be the next member of the New Jersey General Assembly. Muoio will fill the 15th District vacancy created by Bonnie Watson Coleman’s election to the U.S. House of Representatives. Vacancies in the Assembly occurring out of session are filled by local leadership of the predecessor’s political party. Muoio was the only nominee put forth by the committee, and was selected unanimously. 

Controversy abounds in Pennsylvania over a last-minute appointment made by the outgoing Governor. On January 9, less than two weeks before his term as Governor was to expire, Tom Corbett appointed Erik Arneson to a six-year term as head of the Office of Open Records, a small office which administers the state’s Right-to-Know law. Just two days after being sworn in, new Governor Tom Wolf issued a statement criticizing Corbett’s series of “eleventh hour executive nominations,” saying, “these moves were murky and the process was anything but open and transparent.” Wolf rescinded several of Corbett’s nominations, fired Arneson from his new position, and installed Nathan Byerly as Acting Executive Director. Arneson has not gone down quietly and has teamed with Senate Republicans to file a lawsuit against Governor Wolf seeking reinstatement. This drama appears to be the opening act in a long battle between the new Democratic Governor and the Republican-controlled legislature.

St. Paul, MN – Mayor Chris Coleman has appointed Dana Bailey as his new Chief of Staff, effective February 23, 2015.  Bailey is currently Deputy Chief of Staff to Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton.  She replaces Erin Dady, who resigned for a position as Head of Government and Community Affairs for University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler. 

Louisville, KY – Chief Financial Officer Steve Rowland has resigned.  He had been placed on leave earlier this month, following his arrest on charges of public intoxication and disorderly conduct.  Budget Director Daniel Frockt is serving as the Interim Chief Financial Officer. 

Kansas City, MO – Cokethea Hill has been appointed to serve as the 5th District City Council Representative, through August 1, 2015.  She replaces Michael Brooks who resigned from the Council in December 2014.

Bergen County, NJ– Thomas J. Sullivan was sworn in on January 28th to the Bergen County Board of Chosen Freeholders. Sullivan, who was chosen by the Democratic Committee of Bergen County, fills a vacancy left by newly elected County Executive Jim Tedesco.

Orange County, CA – The special election held Tuesday to fill the vacant seat of former Supervisor Janet Nguyen remains too close to call. The first day of counting ended with a two-vote difference between top contenders Andrew Do and Lou Correa. Mr. Do leads Correa, a former State Senator.  

Port of New Orleans, LA– The Port’s new Chief Operating Officer Brandy Christian stepped into her role on Friday. Cristian comes from the San Diego Unified Port District, where she served as Vice President of Strategy and Business Development. Current COO Patrick J. Gallwey will stay on until March, to ensure a smooth transition. 

  

 

January 22, 2015 

This Week: Corruption Charges in NY and a New Texas Governor

Tom Wolf, the only Democrat to defeat a sitting Republican Governor in the 2014 general election, took the oath of office as Pennsylvania’s 47th Governor on Tuesday, January 20.

Wolf’s running mate Mike Stack was also sworn in as Lieutenant Governor, just moments after officially resigning from the State Senate. Wolf continued to make Cabinet selections leading up his inauguration day. Two of his appointees, State Police Commissioner Marcus Brown and Secretary of Human Services Secretary Ted Dallas, both held the same positions in Maryland as part of outgoing Governor Martin O’Malley’s administration.

Other high-profile appointments include Pedro Rivera as Secretary of Education, Leslie Richards as Secretary of Transportation, and Karen Murphy as Secretary of Health. Wolf also earned praised from the LGBT community for appointing transgender woman Rachel Levine, a widely-respected professor of pediatrics and psychiatry, to be Physician General, the Governor’s advisor on public health issues.

New York State Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver was arrested on federal corruption charges on January 22nd. Silver is a Democrat from the Lower East Side of Manhattan who has served as speaker for over 20 years. The charges focus on possible corrupt dealings that Silver capitalized on his official position.

Greg Abbott was sworn in as the first new Texas Governor in 14 years when he took the oath of office in Austin last Tuesday.  Abbott, who defeated Democratic State Senator Wendy Davis in the November general election, has served as Texas Attorney General for 12 years. Newly-elected Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick was also sworn into office at the ceremony. Abbott’s predecessor Rick Perry was the longest-serving Governor in the state’s history, having served since George W. Bush resigned from the seat to become President in December 2000. Perry, who ran a disappointing campaign for President in 2012, has so far been mum on his plans for 2016

Hawaii State Representative Mele Carroll has announced she will resign from her legislative seat on February 1 due to health matters. Carroll had previously undergone treatment for cancer, and complications have forced her to step down and spend more time with friends and loved ones. Carroll is a Democrat who has served in the State House since 2005, when she was appointed by then Governor Linda Lingle to represent District 13. She was recently elected to a sixth term in office.

West Virginia Governor Earl Ray Tomblin appointed Gregory Boso to serve in the West Virginia Senate. Boso will replace Clark Barnes, who resigned from his District 11 seat to serve as Senate Clerk. Boso was selected from a pool of three names submitted by the local Republican Party. 

Pasadena, CA – Finance Director Andrew Green and Public Works Director Siobhan Foster were fired this week, following charges of embezzlement in both departments.  City Manager Michael Beck has appointed Assistant City Manager Julie Gutierrez as Interim Director of both the Finance and Public Works Departments.

New York, NY – Civilian Complaint Review Board Chairman Richard Emery has announced that Mina Quinto Malik will serve as the Board’s Executive Director, effective February 2015.  Malik previously served as Special Council to King’s County District Attorney.  She replaces Brian Connell who is Acting Executive Director of the Board.

Newark, NJ – Mayor Ras Baraka has appointed Felipe Luciano as the new Communications Director for the city.  Luciano replaces Sakina Cole, who resigned in December.

Louisville, KY – City Council President Jim King has passed away. He had served on the Louisville Metro Council since 2004, and as President since 2011.  Council President Pro Tem David James will preside over Council meetings until they choose a new president.

Jefferson County, CO – State Representative Libby Szabo has been tapped to fill a vacancy on the Jefferson County Board of Commissioners. The seat was left open by Faye Griffin, who was elected County Clerk and Recorder this past November. Szabo will be sworn in as part of a two-seat Republican majority on the three-seat board.

Nassau County, NY– County Legislator David Denenberg resigned his seat on January 21, before pleading guilty to eight counts of felony mail fraud as part of a plea deal. The alleged acts took place while Deneberg was a partner at the law firm Davidoff, Hutcher & Citron LLP. No replacement for Deneberg has been announced.

Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority – General Manager and CEO Richard Sarles retired last week after four years in the top position. Jack Requa, Assistant General Manager for Bus Services, has been appointed as his interim replacement, and will serve in that position until the Board of Directors name a permanent replacement.

 

 

January 15, 2015 

This Week: Morrissey Hangs onto His Seat

On January 13, 2015, voters in Virginia’s 74th District elected Joseph D. Morrissey to the seat he had effectively resigned in the Virginia House of Delegates just that morning. In December, Morrissey was convicted of a misdemeanor charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor in Henrico County. The minor in question was a then-seventeen year old young woman who was working in his law office at the time. A now-former Democrat, Morrissey ran in the special election as an independent candidate to give his constituents the power to decide whether or not he would continue to serve. Currently Morrissey is in a ninety day work-release program that does not prevent him from holding a legislative office. The House of Delegates’ leadership has so far stripped him of his committee assignments, pending any further punitive action from the Assembly. 

Bruce Rauner was sworn in as the 42nd Governor of Illinois on Monday, January 12, becoming the first Republican to hold the office since 2003. Evelyn Sanguinetti, Rauner’s running mate, also took the oath of office and became the state’s Lieutenant Governor. The new governor has already made over 40 appointments to his executive staff.. Among them is his new Chief of Staff Mike Zolnierowicz, who previously worked on the staff of U.S. Senator Mark Kirk. Gov. Rauner also hired Kathy Lydon, former Chief of Staff to U.S. Representative Judy Biggert, to head his Washington, D.C. office. In his first days in office, Rauner accused his predecessor Pat Quinn of make “inappropriate” hirings, and has promised to reverse any appointments or job transfers made by Quinn since the election. 

Faced with a myriad of staff vacancies as he began his second term in office, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo issued a series of more than 50 appointments and nominations to his administration. Blackstone executive William Mulrow will replace Lawrence Schwartz as Secretary to the Governor and serve as Gov. Cuomo’s most senior aide. Former New York City Controller William Thompson was nominated to replace Mulrow as Chairman of the state’s Housing Finance Agency Board. Alphonso David will replace Seth Agata as Counsel to the Governor on April 1, and Patricia Gatling will replace David in his current position of Deputy Secretary for Civil Rights. Governor Cuomo also made nominations to the New York State Thruway Authority: Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney was nominated to Chair the Authority, and Cuomo’s Budget Director Bob Megna was picked to serve as Acting Executive Director.  

Flint, MI – Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has appointed Jerry Ambrose as the new Emergency Financial Manager.  Ambrose replaces Darnell Earley, who the Governor appointed as the new Emergency Financial Manager for Detroit Public Schools.  Earley had served in Flint since 2013.

New Orleans, LA – Mayor Mitch Landrieu has appointed Brad Howard as Press Secretary.  Howard had served as Public Affairs Manager at the U.S. Small Business Administration and as Communications Director for U.S. Congressman Mike Ross. 

Richmond, VA – Richmond Chief of Police Ray Tarasovic has announced that he will retire from the department on February 20, 2015.  He has served as Chief of Police since 2013. 

St. Louis, MO – Mayor Francis Slay’s Chief of Staff, Jeff Rainford, has announced that he will resign on February 6, 2015.  Rainford, a former television reporter, has served as Chief of staff since 2001. 

Port Authority of New York and New Jersey– Port Authority Deputy Executive Director Deborah Gramiccioni announced that she will be leaving the Authority after just one year in the position. Gramiccioni was brought into the organization following the George Washington Bridge scandal that was linked to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s office. She is leaving for a position in New York University Law School, but her departure is also thought to be part of a larger reorganization of the Port Authority agreed upon by Governors Christie and Cuomo, as the position of Deputy Director will be eliminated after her departure and no replacement will be named. Gramiccioni’s last day with the port is February 1, 2015.

Arlington County, VA– Arlington County Manager Barbara Donnellan announced that Steven Cover will serve as the County’s next head of the Department of Community Planning, Housing and Development. Cover will start with the County on March 2, 2015, and is taking over for retiring director Robert Brosnan. Mr. Cover has previously worked for the City of Atlanta, GA; Fulton County, GA; and Anne Arundel County, MD.