Kincannon announces top hires; Welch to resign from council

Sandra ClarkLet's Talk

Mayor-elect Indya Kincannon announced several leadership positions today, including appointment of South Knoxville city council member Stephanie Welch to chief of economic and community development.

Welch, who recently resigned as CEO of the Great Schools Partnership, will resign her seat on Knoxville City Council before stepping into her new role in mid-February. Since her resignation will come in early 2020, the new city council will fill the almost-two-year vacancy.

Kincannon will structure her leadership around three deputies: a chief operating officer, a chief policy officer, and the position Welch is taking. Kincannon said earlier she will retain KPD chief Eva Thomas, KFD chief Stan Sharp and Law Director Charles Swanson.

David Brace will continue as COO, a role he has held since 2017. Brace will oversee city departments including Public Service, Parks and Recreation, Engineering, Plans Review and Inspections, Fleet Services, Information Systems, Finance, Employee Benefits and other operating departments.

Stephanie Welch will lead the city’s efforts to invest in Knoxville’s workforce and infrastructure in ways that catalyze private sector investment while maintaining a focus on housing affordability, community wealth building and inclusive economic development.

Erin Gill, the director of sustainability under Mayor Madeline Rogero, will serve as chief policy officer and oversee Communications, Sustainability and the Center for Service Innovation (a.k.a. 311 and 211), as well as state/federal legislative affairs and other projects.

Dr. Bill Lyons, Rogero’s chief policy officer, will stay on as a special advisor to Kincannon through her transition.

Charles Lomax will lead a new division of Community Empowerment. He a former planning commissioner and city council candidate, losing to Lynne Fugate by some 80 votes. Building on the work of retiring senior director of community relations Avice Evans Reid, Lomax will deepen the city’s focus on advancing inclusivity, diversity, and equity, and champion Kincannon’s commitment to actively engaging residents and neighborhoods to promote collaborative decision-making and problem-solving.

Kincannon is accepting applications for several positions: chief financial officer, chief technology officer, and director of transit. Eric Vreeland will serve as acting communications director during the transition and continue as deputy director of communications in the new administration.

Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of Knox TN Today.


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