Both Indiana and Nebraska appointed new state Agricultural Directors this week. Governor Pete Ricketts of Nebraska selected Steve Wellman, a Farm Bureau member and member of the Nebraska Soybean Association. “My administration’s vision is to grow Nebraska, and our state’s number one industry is absolutely critical to realizing this goal,” said Governor Ricketts. “As a family farmer and respected leader in Nebraska agriculture, Steve brings broad experience to the position having served in leadership in ag organizations at the state and local level.” In Indiana, Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch announced Bruce Kettler’s appointment as Agriculture Director, stating that he “will bring his leadership skills…to bring our ag-stakeholders together and to look at how do we best implement our Indiana Agriculture strategic plan for the future.” Mr. Wellman started his new role this week, while Kettler begins his on January 8th, 2018.
Less than a week after the New Hampshire House of Representatives elected a new Speaker of the House, the Massachusetts Senate has temporarily replaced its current President, Stanley C. Rosenberg, with Majority Leader Harriette L. Chandler amidst an ongoing investigation into the Rosenberg family by the Senate Ethics Committee and the Attorney General’s Office. At this time it is unclear how long State Senator Chandler will remain as Acting President, or if Rosenberg will ever return to the top leadership post. “These past four days have been so turbulent, so tragic, so surprising, and so sad,” Chandler said in a speech after her appointment. “I wish I could look at this wonderful election you have given me with joy, rather than the way I feel. It truly isn’t a time of celebration for me.”
In other Massachusetts Senate news, Republican Dean Tran won the special election to fill the Worcester-Middlesex State Senate seat, defeating opponents Sue Chalifoux, a Democrat, Green-Rainbow candidate Charlene DiCalogero, and Leominster City Councilor Claire Freda, who ran as an unenrolled candidate. The election was one of the only wins for the G.O.P. in Massachusetts this year and makes Mr. Tran, a current Fitchburg City Councilor, the first Republican to represent the district in recent memory. The Senate seat became vacant after then-State Senator Jennifer Flanagan was appointed to serve on the newly-created Cannabis Control Commission.
Cities and Towns:
New York, NY – Mayor Bill de Blasio announced changes to his staff effective January 2018. Anthony Shorris will step down as First Deputy Mayor and will be replaced by Dean Fuleihan. Fuleihan currently serves as Director of the Office of Management and Budget. Current OMB Deputy Director Melanie Hartzog will replace Fuleihan as Director. Deputy Mayor Richard Buery will also be leaving the Mayor’s staff. Mayor de Blasio announced a new position, Deputy Mayor for Operations, and appointed Laura Anglin to fill the position. Emma Wolf will serve as Chief of Staff to the Mayor. She is currently serving as Director of the Mayor’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. Wolf replaces Kevin O’Brian, who has been serving as Acting Chief of Staff. In an announcement, Mayor de Blasio said, “It’s an important day for this administration, for the city as we look ahead to the next term. Chirlane and I are always humbled by the work we do and obviously to have an opportunity to serve the people of this city and the mandate that I was honored to receive in the last election. It’s time now to start to put the pieces together for the team that will take us forward into the coming years.”
Seattle, WA – Newly elected Mayor Jenny Durkan made department head appointments this week. She appointed current Deputy Chief Carmen Best as Interim Chief of Police, effective January 1, 2018. Best replaces Cathleen O’Toole, who is retiring. The Mayor also appointed Jim Baggs as Interim General Manager and CEO of Seattle City Light. Baggs replaced Larry Weiss who resigned. In a press release, Mayor Durkan said, “Few issues are more important than public safety and keeping families in our City safe. Deputy Chief Best will continue Chief O’Toole’s work to build more effective community policing and lasting reforms. For 25 years, Deputy Chief Best has been on the frontlines of keeping our city safe and has an unrelenting resolve to serve the people.”
Counties and Authorities:
Fulton County, GA – Robb Pitts won a special election on Tuesday to become Chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners. The position became vacant when former Chairman John Eaves resigned earlier this year to run for Mayor of Atlanta. Pitts will be sworn in on December 11, 2017.
Los Angeles County, CA – County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl became Chair of the County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. As Chair, Kuehl serves as Chief Executive for the County. Kuehl succeeds Mark Ridley-Thomas, as the position rotates on an annual basis.