Andy Berke has high-priority posts to fill

Andy Berke has high-priority posts to fill

April 12th, 2013 by Cliff Hightower in Local Regional News

Chattanooga City Hall

Photo by Meghan Brown


Two new staff members have been named to Mayor-elect Andy Berke's new team. Jeff Cannon will serve as deputy chief of staff and chief innovation officer. Lacie Stone takes the role as communications director. Cannon served formerly as executive director of Greenspaces, and Stone formerly served as communications director for EPB.

Former Gang Task Force Coordinator Boyd Patterson will return to the Hamilton County District Attorney's Office on April 29.

Two high-priority Chattanooga department heads will be leaving office today, and at this point it appears there will be no immediate replacements.

Lacie Stone, spokeswoman for Mayor-elect Andy Berke, said Thursday that Chief Operating Officer Andrew Kean will be working with deputy administrators for Public Works and Parks and Recreation.

But Berke and his team, who campaigned extensively on open government and transparency, would not provide a list of all department heads who have to leave by today.

"We want to be respectful and sensitive to the personal needs of the employees and are working with each person on an individual basis to ensure a suitable end date," Stone said.

She said there were no announcements Thursday of any interim administrators or directors. But she said the incoming administration is putting together plans to meet with department deputies to ensure a "seamless transition."

Two administrators -- Public Works Administrator Steve Leach and Parks and Recreation Director Larry Zehnder -- are known to be required to leave office by close of business today.

In the meantime, Deputy Public Works Administrator Lee Norris could be running Public Works, while Parks Director Glenn Sheppard and Recreation Director Greta Hayes could split duties heading the Parks and Recreation Department.

Those employees could hold the positions until either interim or permanent department heads are named.

Eighteen of 21 staff members and department heads from Mayor Ron Littlefield's administration will be retiring or resigning over the next few weeks.

Gang Task Force Coordinator Boyd Patterson will be leaving sooner than later. He said he originally had been told he could serve until June 3, but on Thursday he packed up his boxes and sent out a mass email thanking those involved in the task force.

"I asked them to link arms with the new administration because the city needs it," he said. "I feel profoundly grateful to have had this opportunity to serve the city like this."

He will return to Attorney General Bill Cox's office April 29.

Assistant City Attorney Phil Noblett said Berke does not have to have City Council approval to name interim directors or administrators. He can appoint interims, and within 60 days he has to submit his permanent choices to the City Council to approve, he said.

"I'm sure he's going to have someone in those positions," Noblett said.

Staff writer Beth Burger contributed to this story.

Contact staff writer Cliff Hightower at or 423-757-6480. Follow him at or