Mayor names top government leaders

Mayor Linda Gorton today named most of her Commissioners, the people who will lead Government departments.

“These people will ensure government services operate smoothly, efficiently and effectively,” Gorton said. “They also will be a force for innovation, accountability and transparency within City Hall.”

Susan Speckert is the new Commissioner of Law. Speckert currently heads Fayette Alliance, a coalition of citizens dedicated to achieving sustainable growth in Lexington-Fayette County through land-use advocacy, education, and research. She has also served as general counsel to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission, as an assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney in Lexington, and as an associate at the law firm Stoll Keenon Ogden. Speckert will join the City in February.

Returning Commissioners include:

  • Geoff Reed as Commissioner of General Services. Geoff also served as Chief of Staff under Mayor Jim Gray, and has extensive experience in local, state and federal government.
  • Ken Armstrong, a former Assistant Police Chief and Director of Code Enforcement, as Commissioner of Public Safety.
  • Bill O’Mara, a leading member of the City’s financial team for many years, as Commissioner of Finance.
  • Chris Ford, a former Councilmember with a background in city government and local nonprofit agencies, as Social Services Commissioner.
  • Aldona Valicenti as Chief Information Officer. Valicenti has extensive experience in the public and private sector in information technology. Valicenti was the first CIO for the State of Kentucky.

Gorton plans to advertise for two positions, Commissioner of Planning, Preservation and Development, and Commissioner of Environmental Quality and Public Works. In the meantime, Chief Administrative Officer Sally Hamilton will serve as acting commissioner in Planning; Charles Martin will continue as Acting Commissioner of Public Works. Martin is the Director of the Division of Water Quality.

The appointments and reappointments of all commissioners, the Chief Information Officer and the Chief Administrative Officer are subject to confirmation by the Urban County Council. Those hearings are set for Jan. 17.
Last week Mayor Gorton named part of her leadership team, including CAO staff and members of the Mayor’s Staff.

“These names represent solid experience, practical know-how, creativity, and outside-the-box thinking,” Gorton said. “They’re people from inside and outside government who will do great things for our City.”

Chief Administrative Officer Sally Hamilton and her staff, Glenn Brown and Jenifer Wuorenmaa, are returning. New in the CAO’s office is administrative specialist Dina Melvin, who had served as Councilmember Kevin Stinnett’s legislative aide.

In the Mayor’s Office there will be several new faces.

  • Tyler Scott, the new Chief of Staff, is returning to City Hall after serving as Gorton’s legislative aide when she was Vice Mayor. He currently works for UK Healthcare.
  • Former Councilmember Andrea James will coordinate special projects, beginning with the Mayor’s opioid addiction initiative. James currently works at S&A Strategies.
  • Craig Cammack, currently legislative aide to Councilmember Susan Lamb, is the new Community Outreach Liaison.
  • Heather Lyons has been named Director of Arts and Cultural Affairs. She currently works as Executive Director of the Living Arts and Science Center.
  • Quin Welch will be an aide to the Mayor.

Returning on the Mayor’s Office staff are Kevin Atkins, Chief Development Officer; Elodie Dickinson, Workforce Development Manager; Laura Hatfield, Director of One Lexington; Ashton Potter-Wright, Local Food Coordinator; Brandi Peacher, Director of Project Management; Susan Straub, Director of Communications; Maureen Watson, Executive Assistant to the Mayor;  and Melissa McCartt-Smyth, Purchasing and Payroll Coordinator.

Mayor Linda Gorton on stage