Michigan- Philomena Mantella, currently the senior vice president and CEO of Lifelong Learning at Northeastern University, has been named the fifth president of Grand Valley State University. Grand Valley State is the fourth largest public university in the state of Michigan. Her appointment is effective July 1, when Thomas Haas retires after leading the Allendale-based school for more than a decade.
Washington State- Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan announced on Jan. 22 that she will nominate Saad Bashir to be the next chief technology officer (CTO) for the Seattle Information Technology Department. Bashir has spent the past eight years at the city of Ottawa, serving as the chief information officer for the past two and half years. If confirmed, Bashir will fill the vacancy left by Michael Mattmiller a year ago.
Florida- Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has selected Kevin Thibault as secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). Thibault is the former southeast regional senior vice president of TranSystems Corp. Thibault has extensive experience in the private and public sectors, including 16 years at FDOT. During his tenure at the FDOT, Thibault served as the assistant secretary for engineering and operations and as interim executive director of Florida's Turnpike Enterprise. Thibault replaces Mike Dew who resigned.
California- Peggy Flynn, a city official in Novato, has accepted an offer to become Petaluma's next city manager. She will fill the void left by John Brown, who retired in November after a decade at the helm. Flynn has worked for Novato since 2012, and most recently served as the assistant city manager. She has more than 20 years of municipal experience working for the San Jose Redevelopment Agency, the Santa Clara Valley Water District and the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District. She is projected to start in Petaluma on Feb. 25.
Nebraska- A social services director from Virginia has been chosen to serve as the next leader of Nebraska's Department of Health and Human Services. Gov. Pete Ricketts announced he has selected Dannette R. Smith to serve as the agency's new chief executive officer. She has more than 25 years of executive leadership experience, most recently as the director of the Virginia Beach Department of Human Services. Smith, who will replace Courtney Phillips, begins work Feb. 25.
Connecticut- Gov. Ned Lamont announced the nomination of Josh Geballe to lead the state's Department of Administrative Services. Geballe will oversee state government functions including information technology infrastructure, the design and construction of state facilities, statewide human resources and debt collection. Geballe will take up the post as commissioner-designate by March 1, and the Connecticut General Assembly will vote on the nomination in the coming months. Geballe's predecessor under former Gov. Dannel Malloy was Melody A. Currey, who was appointed in 2015.
Maryland- Trisha Wolford will soon become the chief of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department in Maryland. Wolford, who was hired as Spokane's assistant chief in December 2017, spent the first 10 years of her career as a firefighter in Anne Arundel County. In her new position as chief of the Anne Arundel County Fire Department, she will oversee about 900 career firefighters and 450 volunteers. The current fire chief, Allan Graves, is resigning on Dec. 31. Wolford will start early next year.
Georgia- Michael McCoy was named the permanent Dougherty County administrator at the beginning of 2019. McCoy, who was the assistant county administrator for 9 years, was named the interim county administrator in January 2018 after Richard Crowdis retired. Before becoming the assistant county administrator, McCoy worked at the county landfill, first as operations manager and later as the director.
Massachusetts- Sara Myerson, the director of planning at the Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA), plans to step down from her position this winter. Myerson joined what was then called the BPDA in early 2016. Prior to that, she had led the Boston 2030 initiative and served as executive director of the city's Office of Olympic Planning. Myerson has taken a position with a private firm in Boston.
Oklahoma- Oklahoma City Police Chief Bill Citty is retiring after 15 years in that position. His retirement date is set for May 2. It will fall to new City Manager Craig Freeman to find Citty's successor. That new person will inherit a force of roughly 1,100 officers. Citty became an Oklahoma City police officer in 1977. After starting his career as a patrol officer, he investigated narcotics and homicides, served as a campus resource officer and on the tactical unit, led the Public Information Office and was deputy chief over the Administration Bureau before becoming the 48th police chief in October 2003.
Florida- Shalimar Mayor Gary Combs plans to retire after two decades on the job. Combs, an Air Force veteran, began serving his first two-year, unpaid mayoral term in 1999, following his two-year stint as the town's police commissioner. Shalimar's new mayor will be unopposed candidate Mark Franks.
Florida- Gov. Ron DeSantis has selected Hillsborough Circuit Court Judge Laurel Lee to be Florida's new secretary of state. Lee was among the list of 59 candidates who applied to the Judicial Nominating Commission for the recent openings at the U.S. Supreme Court last fall. She has served as a circuit court judge in Florida's 13th Judicial Circuit in Hillsborough County since 2013. Lee replaces Michael Ertel, who resigned last Thursday. Lee faces confirmation by the Florida Senate when it meets this spring.