Gainesville City Manager restructures Leadership Team with new Executive Chief of Staff position

City Manager Anthony Lyons announced the creation of the position of Executive Chief of Staff for the Office of the City Manager and the immediate appointment of Interim Administrative Services Director Betty Baker to the position. As Executive Chief of Staff, Baker will assume responsibility for the day to day operations of the Office of City Manager.

“Betty’s experience as a seasoned manager in city and county government administration and exemplary service as the City’s interim Administrative Services Director make her the clear choice to lead this critical role on my leadership team, said City Manager Anthony Lyons. “In this new role, Betty will continue to serve as a senior advisor to me on a variety of key organizational issues.”

Since January 2016, Baker has served as Interim Administrative Services Director for the City, with oversight for the Departments of Finance and Risk Management and the Fleet Management Division. She will retain direct oversight for the Risk Management Department and Fleet Services Division while transitioning direct oversight of the City’s Finance Department to the City Manager. The City Administrative Service Director position will be retained and remain vacant.

Prior to joining the City of Gainesville, Baker served as a former County Manager, Deputy County Manager and Administrative Service Director for Alachua County. During her tenure as Deputy City Manager for Cincinnati, OH, Baker was responsible for Public Safety, General Services and Human Resources Departments. She has worked in numerous leadership positions for the State of Florida and is an International City/County Management Association Credentialed Manager and Certified Public Manager.  

Baker holds a master’s degree in Public Administration from Baruch College at the City University of New York and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminology and Psychology from Florida State University.

New city department combines efforts to focus on strategic initiatives

City Manager Anthony Lyons recently announced the creation of a new department, the Strategic Initiatives Department, which will be headed by Carrie Blanchard Bush, who initially led the Citizen-Centered Gainesville initiative. The creation of the department comes after months of combined efforts to find new approaches to major institutional priorities, such as the city budget process and its strategic plan, as well as how citizens and community stakeholders engage with the city.

Lyons stated, “The development of a Strategic Initiatives Department comes at a time where cities are being called upon to revisit old problems with new eyes, and in more collaborative and transparent ways. We have recently undergone an exceptional strategic planning process both as an organization and in partnership with the University of Florida’s Strategic Development Plan. The steps that we take today to coordinate strategic initiatives are just the first of several along the path to becoming our future city.”

The creation of the Strategic Initiatives Department is cost and position neutral, and is comprised of the following: Citizen-Centered Gainesville, Communications & Marketing, Economic Development & Innovation, Intergovernmental Relations, Performance Measurement and Strategic Planning. By maintaining a focus on the City of Gainesville’s strategic purpose and future direction in each of these areas, and the city collectively, a distinct identity and mode of conducting business will be achieved, which will benefit each of Gainesville’s residents. Staff projects this new alignment of city resources will be cost and position neutral.

Director Carrie Blanchard Bush brings 15 years of experience in local government, public policy and academia to bear as the leader of this new department. Since joining the City of Gainesville in January 2016, Blanchard Bush has been instrumental in leading initiatives from the Blue Ribbon Report, which support the creation of a citizen-centered local government. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Miami, as well as a doctorate in public administration and policy from Florida State University.

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