New Bartlett Mayor David Parsons has announced his picks to occupy the top departmental positions in his administration with all of the appointees coming from the current city employees.
Among the appointments, Parsons has named Steve Sones, Bartlett Police Department’s assistant chief, as chief administrative officer, replacing Mark Brown, who served as the lead adviser to former Mayor Keith McDonald.
Parsons, elected in November, is hoping for a seamless transition after a number of top Bartlett officials retired at the end of the year with McDonald leaving office. The departures paved the way for a new wave of leadership.
“These are people who’ve been with the city for a long time and are rooted in the community just like their predecessors,” Parsons said. “With my directors, I tried to make sure they complemented one another and fit well with the vision and the goals of what we’re trying to accomplish.”
Retirees included Brown, Fire Chief Terry Wiggins, Director of Public Works Mike Adams, Director of Code Enforcement Jim Brown, and Director of Engineering/City Engineer Rick McClanahan.
Sones has worked or lived in the city for more than 30 years, and is a 20-year veteran of the suburb’s police department, moving his way through the ranks to most recently serving as assistant police chief.
“He knows the inner workings of the city, and all of the department heads already know him,” Parsons said of Sones. “So rather than bring someone else in from elsewhere, he’s able to hit the ground running.”
Sones has worked closely with Brown for the past several weeks to get better acquainted with the CAO role.
John Horne, who has worked for Bartlett since the mid-1990s, will serve as the new director of engineering/city engineer. He moves up from the assistant director of engineering under McClanahan.
Kim Taylor will stay on as the director of planning & economic development, as will Michael Bollinger, director of the Bartlett Performing Arts & Conference Center, Shan Criswell, director of parks and recreation, and Jeff Cox as police chief.
With Sones moving into the CAO role, Chris Golden will become the new assistant police chief. J.J. Leatherwood, Eric Leppanen and Laurie Thompson will be the chief inspectors.
Former Bartlett Assistant Fire Chief Tommy Gately replaces Wiggins as head of that department. Wiggins retired after working for the department 39 years including serving as chief since 2007.
“Tommy brings a lot of experience, really heavy on the medical and administrative side,” Parsons said.
Chip Webster will also move up the ladder to become the new assistant fire chief.
“What I like about Chip is he has been with the city for a long time. He started out in Grounds & Maintenance (Dept.) cutting grass, then got involved with the volunteer fire department, and then worked his way up the ranks,” Parsons said.
Former Assistant Director of Public Works Matt Crenshaw will move up to the director spot. Trey Arthur will be Bartlett’s new director of code enforcement, replacing Brown, who retired after 15 years as director.
Ed McKenney Jr. stays on as the city attorney, as will Rhea Clift as the city prosecutor.
Parsons will also re-appoint Alderman Jack Young as vice mayor for a new two-year term. Young also served as vice mayor during some of McDonald’s tenure.
Parsons’ picks will need to be approved by the Board of Mayor and Aldermen at a special session on Thursday night.
“The mayor places the appointees’ names before the board as his nominations,” said Bartlett City Clerk Penny Medlock, who is among those chosen to continue in her role. She was originally appointed to her position three years ago by McDonald, after working as the administrative assistant for the chief of police for 20 years.
“I find it an honor to be appointed. When you have a new administration, and you’ve got people in place who are already doing a great job — which I feel that all of our employees are — it just makes the transition go so much more smoothly.”
Story by Michael Waddell, special with The Daily Memphian