Mayor-Elect Purzycki Announces Department and Staff Appointments
The new administration is ready to get to work on Wednesday, January 4
Wilmington’s Mayor-elect Mike Purzycki today announced several departmental director and senior staff appointments for his new Administration which officially begins on Wednesday, January 4. The Mayor-elect will be sworn-in as the City’s 56th Mayor on the evening of Tuesday, January 3 when he takes the oath of office at a ceremony at the Grand on Market Street.
“I am fortunate to have assembled a talented and dedicated team comprised of individuals who have vast experience in government service and well as others who will serve in government for the first time,” said Purzycki. “All of these appointees have the knowledge, skills and backgrounds to make City government more efficient in the delivery of services, more responsive to the needs of citizens and much stronger and smarter when it comes to managing our City’s finances. We are ready to get to work to make our City and our neighborhoods more vibrant by creating jobs, reducing crime and blight and advocating for a better education system for our children. I express my thanks to those who have agreed to join me in serving the people of Wilmington.”
Mayor-elect Purzycki’s departmental appointees announced today include:
- Luke Mette, nominated to be Wilmington City Solicitor – Mette is a partner in the business litigation group in the Wilmington office of the law firm of McCarter & English. He served as the Global Head of Litigation and Deputy General Counsel with the global biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. Mette is a recognized innovator in the areas of litigation strategy, conflict resolution and cost reduction with extensive experience operating in highly regulated environments. Because Mette is being nominated as the chief litigator and legal counsel to both the Executive and Legislative branches of City government, his nomination by the Mayor-elect must be approved by Wilmington City Council.
- Earl Jeter, nominated to be Wilmington City Auditor – Jeter is currently serving as Wilmington’s Auditor, having been appointed to a four-year term in 2013 by Mayor Dennis P. Williams and confirmed by City Council. The Auditor serves both the Executive and Legislative branches of city government. Mayor-elect Purzycki is nominating Jeter to serve another four year term subject to approval by City Council. As Auditor, Jeter provides an independent examination of the City’s internal control systems to determine whether the City is collecting revenue to which it is entitled, that expenditures are properly authorized and that City assets are safeguarded. Jeter is also an Adjunct Professor at Wilmington University and was previously employed as Chief Financial Officer for Interfaith Community Housing of Delaware and by the Internal Revenue Service.
- Patrick Carter as Director of the Department of Finance – Carter has been the Director of Finance for the State of Delaware since May of 2003, overseeing a staff of 200 and responsible for the administration, enforcement and collection of the personal and business income taxes for the State of Delaware. He previously served as Deputy Director of the division from 1994 to 2001. Carter was Wilmington’s Director of Finance from 1989 to 1993. Prior to his government service, he worked for J.P. Morgan Bank in Delaware and Coopers & Lybrand, a CPA Firm in Philadelphia. He has been a member of the Delaware Society of CPA's since 1988.
- Herb Inden as Director of the Department of Planning and Urban Development – Inden has served as a Principal Planner for the State of Delaware’s Office of Planning Coordination since 1993. Prior to joining State government, Inden served his first stint as Director of the Planning Department for the City of Wilmington from 1988 through 1993. As a principle State planner, Inden's duties include improving the coordination and effectiveness of land use decisions that are made by state, county, and municipal governments. Inden will lead the City’s planning efforts which are intended to ensure that physical, social, and economic development occurs in a rational and comprehensive manner that addresses community needs and governmental priorities.
- Michael Donohue as the Chief of the Department of Fire – Donahue has been Deputy Chief of the Wilmington Fire Department’s Operations Division since January of 2013. Prior to assuming that position, Donohue was a Battalion Chief for nearly 12 years. His 33 years of service with the fire department have also included the position of Captain of the Safety and Training Unit as well as extensive experience as a Captain and Lieutenant with fire suppression. Donohue is the son of former Wilmington Fire Chief Jerome Donohue who led the department from 1978 through his retirement in 1986.
- Jennifer Prado as Director of the Office of Constituent Services – Prado has served in various capacities in the City’s constituent service office since 2006. She began her city government career as a Constituent Services Representative and then assumed the position of Community Referral Specialist in 2010. Prado has developed productive community relationships throughout the City while researching and resolving citizen concerns in a timely manner. She has also served in an administrative capacity for the City’s Nuisance Property Working Group. Prior to being employed by the City, Prado was a Customer Service Representative for the Department of Public Works in Nashville, Tennessee.
- Kevin F. Kelley, Sr. as Director of the Department of Parks and Recreation – Kelley has been the Director of the Division of Management Services for the State of Delaware’s Department of Health and Social Services since 2013. Kelley has been responsible for budget and program analysis within his State division as well as contract management, facility operations and human resources management. He served for 20 years as a member of the Wilmington City Council from the 6th District and is the founder of the Browntown Community Association. Kelly was one of eight people who sought the Democratic nomination for Mayor of Wilmington earlier this year.
- Leonard Sophrin as Director of the Department of Real Estate and Housing – Sophrin most recently served as Director of the Wilmington Department of Planning and Development. Prior to becoming a department director, he was Director of Policy for Mayor Dennis E. Williams. Before entering government service, Sophrin was owner and principal architect of his own firm and formerly worked as a principal architect with Homsey Architects, Inc. He is also a co-founder of the Delaware Greenways Coalition and a founding member of the 9th Ward Civic Association.
- Charlotte B. Barnes reappointed as Director of the Department of Human Resources – Barnes has been with the City for 28 years. She has served as the City's Director of Human Resources for more than two years. Prior to becoming director, she was the Special Assistant to the Chief of Staff in the Office of Mayor Dennis E. Williams and served as the Chief of Staff for Wilmington City Council for eight years.
- Jeff Flynn re-appointed as Director of the Office of Economic Development – Flynn has served for 15 years in the City’s economic development office and has been the City’s chief economic development director since 2014. Flynn was also a Deputy Director of the department and an economic development manager in the office. His pre- government service included various business development positions in the private sector.
- Jeff Starkey reappointed as Commissioner of the Department of Public Works – Starkey has served as Public Works Commissioner since May of 2014. Prior to that, he was the Commissioner and/or Deputy Commissioner of the City’s Department of Licenses and Inspections for 13 years. Starkey began his career with the City as a plans examiner with the L&I Department.
Mayor-elect Purzycki also announced today that two individuals have agreed to serve in an acting director capacity for their respective departments until further decisions are made about permanent leadership positions. They include:
- Bobby Cummings to be Acting Chief of the Department of Police while a nationwide search is conducted to identify both internal and external candidates who are interested in serving as the City’s next Police Chief.
- Leo Lynch to be Acting Director of the Department of Licenses and Inspections. Lynch has been with the department for 16 years and is currently the Deputy Director of the department responsible for supervising the work of building and code inspectors.
Mayor-elect Purzycki’s senior staff appointments for the Mayor’s Office include:
- Tanya (Tanny) Washington as Chief of Staff – Washington is a 25-year veteran of City government service with extensive experience with both the Executive and Legislative branches of the government. She served as Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff for former Wilmington Mayor James Baker during the Mayor’s 12-year term and was appointed by two Council Presidents as Legislative Director for Wilmington City Council. Washington was also a legislative analyst and fiscal analyst for City Council. She has wide-ranging experience in formulating the City’s operating and water/sewer budgets, determining citywide staffing levels and advising Mayors and other elected officials on a wide array of policy matters with particular focus on operating and capital budgetary needs.
- John Rago as Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy and Communications – Rago has more than 35 years of experience as a government policy and communications administrator for the Federal, State of Delaware, New Castle County and Wilmington governments. He was Deputy Chief of Staff as well as Policy and Communications Director during former Wilmington Mayor James Baker’s 12-year term in office. Rago previously served as a policy and communications assistant to former Delaware Congressman Michael N. Castle, former New Castle County Executive Rick Collins and the former Secretary for the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families, Charles Hayward. He has extensive experience in crafting government law and policy and specializes in communicating government issues and positions to larger audiences to improve the public’s understanding of government.
- Tom Ogden as Deputy Chief of Staff for Fiscal and Operations Management – Ogden was the former development director and a member of the leadership team at St. Mark’s High School for 16 years. Most recently, he was co-owner and operator of his own general contracting firm, Heritage Construction. Ogden’s previous government service includes administrative positions with former Delaware Congressman Tom Evans and former New Castle County Executive Rick Collins. Ogden will monitor the City’s fiscal condition and assist the Chief of Staff with management of the City’s operating departments.
- Lossie Freeman as Special Assistant to the Mayor for Employment Initiatives – Freeman, who is new to government service, will coordinate the Purzycki Administration’s efforts to promote job creation in partnership with the local business community and identify job skills training opportunities. Because creating employment opportunities are central to the Administration’s efforts, a senior staff person is being assigned to head up this task. Freeman previously served as the Vice President of Global Business Development for the Parnassus Global Agency and was a former consultant for JP Morgan Chase with expertise in developing and sourcing business partnerships with an emphasis in technology, financial services and global business development.
- David Curtis as Best Practices/Innovation Specialist – Curtis is a former budget analyst and operations efficiency specialist with the U.S Department of Veteran Affairs, and was employed for more than four years in that capacity at the Philadelphia Veterans Medical Center. He is the owner of Maneto Strategies LLC, a government and management consulting firm and is a co-founder of 5th Square, a Pennsylvania-based non-partisan political action committee that advocates for pro-growth strategies regarding transportation systems, land use and public parks. Curtis will focus on government efficiencies with the new Administration and research best practices or innovative government and non-government programs that are successful throughout the United States and globally.
Mayor-elect Purzycki said he will made additional announcements in the days ahead regarding other City management positions which have yet to be filled.