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O’Connell announces new staffers; Young chooses transition committees

O'Connell and Young

Following their elections, new Memphis Mayor Paul Young and Nashville Mayor Freddie O’Connell have announced a new transition team and municipal staff members, respectively.

Nashville Mayor Freddie O'Connell announced his campaign manager Marjorie Pomeroy-Wallace will serve as his mayoral chief of staff with former Nashville Councilman and attorney Bob Mendes serving as chief development officer.

Tennessee Rep. Darren Jernigan, D-Nashville, who has represented District 60 since 2012, will serve as O’Connell’s director of legislative affairs. Jernigan previously served as the Nashville District 11 councilmember from 2007 to 2014.

Katy Varney, who formerly worked under Gov. Ned McWherter, will serve as director of communications while Alex Apple, who served as communications director for the campaign, will serve as deputy communications director and press secretary.

TSU professor Isaac Addae will serve in a role focused on small business and entrepreneurship, particularly as a liaison for minority businesses, while Keidron Turner, who worked on the campaign, will serve as constituent services coordinator. Brittany Irby has been selected as director of the office of neighborhoods and community engagement.

Former Metro Finance Director Keith Crumbo will also return to his office on an interim basis until a new hire can be made. Those who will remain on staff include Kathy Floyd Buggs as director of neighborhoods, Bonita Dobbins as administrative assistant, Wallace “Wally” Dietz as legal director, Kristin Wilson as chief of operations and performance, and Jamie Brown will return as director of economic and community development after having served nine months in the same role in 2019.

O’Connell also said he doesn’t intend to make "any major changes" in public safety leadership.

Meanwhile, Young – who will not be sworn in until Jan. 1, 2024 – has also announced a transition team comprised of 85 top leaders in nonprofit, government, education, business, and law enforcement in Memphis. The team includes 25 sub-committees to focus on appointments, public safety, economic development, strong neighborhoods, supporting youth, arts and culture, transportation and infrastructure, and governance.

"Diversity is a defining element of this team," Young said in a news release. "It was important to pull together the best and brightest people from all neighborhoods and all facets of our community. Our business sector, civic, nonprofit, and community organizations are all represented in this team, and we look forward to adding more.” 

The team is 45% Millennial, 40% Generation X, 57% black, 36% white, and 4% Latino or other races, according to the release. Chairs of each transition committee include:


  • Emily Greer, CEO, Greer Leadership Solutions. Former chief administrative officer, ALSAC/St. Jude
  • David Rudd, former president, University of Memphis
  • Chris Winton, former chief people officer, FedEx

Public Safety

  • Jennifer Collins, president, Rhodes College. Former Assistant US Attorney
  • Sandy Bromley, deputy director of Justice Programs, Shelby County Division of Community Services
  • Toney Armstrong, director of security, St. Jude Children’s Hospital. Former MPD Director
  • K. Durrell Cowan, director, Heal 901

Economic Development

  • Christina McCarter, owner, Feast & Graze
  • Ted Townsend, president & CEO, Greater Memphis Chamber
  • Jozelle Booker, president and CEO, Mid-South Minority Business Council Continuum

Strong Neighborhoods

  • Archie Willis, president, ComCap Partners
  • Janet Boscarino, executive director, Clean Memphis
  • Regina Blount Williams, neighborhood leader

Supporting Our Youth

  • Jonathan Torres, CEO, Memphis Athletic Ministries
  • Patrice Thomas, chief of staff, Memphis Shelby County Schools
  • Sarah Lockridge Steckel, CEO, The Collective Blueprint

Thriving Arts & Culture

  • Cara Greenstein, vice president of Public Engagement, Doug Carpenter & Associates
  • Craig Brewer, Filmmaker
  • George Monger, CEO, Connect Music
  • Rachel Knox, senior program officer, Hyde Family Foundation

Transportation & Infrastructure

  • Anna McQuiston, executive director, Mid-South Development District
  • Courtney McNeal, chief of staff, Innovate Memphis
  • Stephen Edwards, senior engineer, TREKK Design Group

Good Governance

  • Cheyenne Johnson, Councilwoman, Memphis City Council
  • Dorcas Young Griffin, director, Shelby County Community Services and Young’s sister
  • Marco McClendon, mayor, city of West Memphis