Majority of city officials re-apply to join Berke administration
CHATTANOOGA, TN (WRCB) - The majority of top ranking city officials have shown a desire to be a part of the incoming administration.
The City responded to an open records request, filed by Channel 3, with a list of employees who plan to retire at the end of Mayor Ron Littlefield's time in office. The list also indicates which employees have submitted an application to stay in their current positions when Mayor-Elect Andy Berke takes office.
According to the documents provided, 19 of the 23 employees asked to resign have submitted an application to stay. Only four declined, choosing instead to retire.
Marie Chinery (Special Assistant to the Mayor), Susan Dubose (Personnel Administrator), Dan Johnson (Chief of Staff), and Mark Keil (Chief Information Officer) all announced their retirement.
Chinery tells Channel 3 she will officially retire at the end of the month. She says her last work day may be sooner if Berke grants her personal time.
Chinery says this will be her third retirement and the timing just felt right.
"I've had a great eight years working for Mayor Littlefield, but I'm at the fortunate position in my life that I can retire," she told Channel 3 in a phone interview.
Dubose, who is currently serving in an interim position, says her retirement was already planned.
"Mine was more planned," she said, "but I have offered to stay on for a while to help with the transition."
Our calls to Dan Johnson and Mark Keil were not immediately returned.
The retirements and resignations come just a week after 23 top city officials were asked to resign and re-apply.
Dan Johnson, Chief of Staff, contacted those employees at the end of March asking them to take action by April 5.
"As the next administration prepares to assume office, we are committed to achieving a smooth transition for the benefit of our city," Johnson wrote in a letter dated March 28.
"In support of this effort, I have offered Mayor Littlefield my resignation. We are respectfully requesting that you submit yours," he followed.
Mayor-Elect Andy Berke told Channel 3 the resignation and re-application process is standard, though prior administrations have not asked for employees to resign.
"This is a typical part of the process," Berke told Channel 3 in a recent interview. "I'm interested in making sure that we have the best people to do economic development and youth development and public safety in our city."
Here is a list of those top ranking officials who have re-applied:
- Richard Beeland, Deputy Administrator
- Beverly Cosley, Director of Multicultural Affairs
- Missy Crutchfield, EAC Administrator
- Bobby Dodd, Police Chief
- Anita Ebersole, Deputy to the Mayor
- Kathie Fulgham, Special Project Coordinator
- Frederick Houser, Associate Coordinator
- Beverly Johnson, Neighborhood Services Administrator
- Mary Keown, City Treasurer
- James Lea, Assistant to Mayor
- Steven Leach, Public Works Administrator
- Daisy Madison, City Finance Officer
- Michael McMahan, City Attorney
- Randall Parker, Fire Chief
- Boyd Patterson, Gang Task Force Coordinator (Patterson has since announced his resignation following Mayor-Elect Berke's decision to dismantle the Gang Task Force.)
- Ronald Swafford, Human Services Administrator
- Danny Thorton, General Services Administrator
- James Whitmire, Fire Marshal
- Lawrence Zehnder, Parks & Recreation Administrator
Mayor-Elect Andy Berke has announced three members of his leadership team.
Travis McDonough, a local attorney and member of Berke's transition team, will serve as Chief of Staff and Counselor to the Mayor.
Berke created two new positions, but has not said if they will take the place of other positions.
He named Andrew Kean as Chief Operating Officer. Stacy Richardson, Berke's former campaign manager, will serve as Senior Advisor to the Mayor and Chief Policy Officer.
Berke's transition team is currently conducting interviews to fill other positions.