Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Chattanooga Mayor elect announces early results of housing cleaning

Chattanooga Mayor elect announces early results of housing cleaning, Yet only five days until Chattanooga Mayor-elect Andy Berke is sworn in but the former state legislator is already taking names and cleaning house.

Earlier this month Berke, who played it close to the vest during a campaign that was virtually assured, required top city administrators to reapply for their jobs.

At a public meeting Wednesday evening, Berke announced the names of three administrators, out of 11 city department heads or program leaders, who will continue to serve in the roles they now hold.

According to local media reports, those who will return include Daisy Madison, chief financial officer, and Gayle Keown, city treasurer. Richard Beeland, former information officer for outgoing mayor Ron Littlefield, was named deputy administrator of personnel replacing Donna Kelley, who retired shortly before Berke was elected. Beeland will also keep his job.

Berke accepted the retirement of the remaining department heads, leaving only Police Chief Bobby Dodd’s job in question.

Berke told local media Wednesday that he is continuing to discuss the police department's leadership with Chief Dodd.

Reliable sources within the police department said sources within the Berke circle told them to expect “big changes,” in the police department. Officers with the rank of lieutenant and higher, including some retired officers, would not elaborate on the changes, saying only that they would come.

Already since the March city election, Berke has dismantled the local gang task force, started in 2001 with financial support from the City Council. A cooperative effort between the Hamilton County District Attorney’s office and the city, the Comprehensive Gang Model was adopted in early 2011. County Assistant District Attorney Boyd Patterson was hired in fall of 2011 to head the effort, dubbed The Future is Ours.

According to a local newspaper, Berke apparently favors a new approach modeled after a program used in High Point, N.C. It involves bringing together gang members, social services and prosecutors and law enforcement to give drug dealers and other criminal elements an opportunity to “go straight or go to jail.”

Wednesday’s announcement ends speculation about who of the Littlefield administration would survive the new mayor. Berke said he has no time table for filling the vacancies. His cabinet has been interviewing candidates.

Berke has accepted the retirement for the following individuals.

- Dan Johnson, Office of the Mayor;

- Susan DuBose, Personnel;

- Steve Leach, Public Works;

- Mark Keil, Information Services;

- Marie Chinery, Office of the Mayor;

- Randy Parker, Fire Department;

- Beverly Johnson, Neighborhood Services;

- Missy Crutchfield, Education, Arts and Culture;

- Mike McMahan, City Attorney;

- Dan Thornton, General Services;

- Beverly Cosley, Office of Multicultural Affairs;

- Larry Zehnder, Parks and Recreation;

- Boyd Patterson, Gang Task Force/Office of the Mayor;

- Fred Houser, Gang Task Force/Office of the Mayor.

- Matt Lea, Office of the Mayor;

- Kathie Fulgham, Office of the Mayor;

- Ron Swafford, Human Services

- Anita Ebersole, Office of the Mayor.

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