Coffee Cup in Hand, Cooper Gets to Work

NASHVILLE, TN – On his first day at work, Mayor John Cooper sat down with reporters and announced some personnel changes in the Metro Finance Department, City Hall, and the Metropolitan Development and Housing Authority (MDHA).

Talia Lomax-O’dneal is stepping down as director of the Finance Department. She will take a civil service position in the department. Kevin Crumbo, a business turnaround specialist and former partner at KraftCPAs, will become the new Finance Director. He is currently serving as Chair of the Nashville Symphony Board of Directors. He has consulted with numerous non-profits including the Tennessee Justice Center, Habitat for Humanity, the Nashville Zoo, and the Adventure Science Center. He also recommended closing down the inpatient facilities at Nashville General Hospital to former Mayor Megan Barry but widespread support for Nashville’s safety net hospital kept it open.

Former Councilwoman Brenda Haywood will take over Rich Riebeling’s old office at City Hall. Haywood will be Cooper’s Deputy Mayor for Community Engagement. Dr. Paulette Coleman will replace Ralph Moseley on the MDHA board. Coleman recently served as chair of the Affordable Housing Task Force with Nashville Organized for Action and Hope (NOAH).

Kristin Wilson will fill a new position at City Hall: Chief of Operations and Performance. Wilson served as the Deputy Chief of Operations in Atlanta. Atlanta’s Blue Ribbon Panel on Waste & Efficiency in Government and the Harvard Kennedy School recognized her for her work on democratic governance and innovation.

Cooper said about one third of Briley’s City Hall staff will stay at least for now.

The new mayor took a few questions from reporters but declined to make any big announcements. He said he would meet with Metro Department of Law Director Jon Cooper “to find out what happened” with the MLS soccer stadium deal and said he would make an announcement about its fate later this week. Ditto with raising taxes. He said he wanted to meet with City Council Finance Chairman Bob Mendez before making any decision on taxes.

Asked about keeping his campaign promises, Cooper said he was going to put a big poster on the wall in his office and cross items off one by one.

Cooper first week on the job was full.

“I’ve got the coffee, I’ve got my yellow pad, and I’ve got Dr. Battle in the other room,” he said.  Dr. Adrienne Battle was appointed interim Director of Schools in April 2019 and she was his first meeting Monday.

He met with Finance Department staff Monday afternoon. He held a reception for the new City Council member Tuesday, visited a school Wednesday, met with Council Finance Chairman Mendez and the city comptroller Thursday.

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