April 16, 2024
Annapolis, US 71 F

Cohen Announces Team

Core Adminitstration Team Names Released

Incoming Annapolis Mayor Josh Cohen (D)
Incoming Annapolis Mayor Josh Cohen (D)

In a 10:00am press conference this morning, incoming Mayor-Elect Joshua J. Cohen announced several members of his administration which he has dubbed his “Core Administration Team”. If nothing else, some of these appointments prove the adage “politics makes strange bedfellows.”

Cohen had pledged to change the way business was done in City Hall during his campaign. The previous administration was very heavily loaded with political appointees, so it will be interesting to see who stays and who goes. We now know two who are staying and two who are going.

This morning’s announcement included the creation of at least one new position in a fiscally challenging year.

Named to the team were:

  • Doug Smith, Chief Administrative Officer (new position)
  • Karen Hardwick, City Attorney (replacing Mike Kling)
  • Tim Elliott, Director of Finance (current Director of Finance)
  • Kimla Milburn, Director of Human Resources (current Director of Human Resources)
  • Gail Smith, Director of Services (new position)
  • Phill McGowan, Public Information Officer (replacing Rhonda Wardlaw)

The biographies of each individual can be found after the jump.

And in keeping with the adversarial nature between media and politicians (as Cohen joked about this morning), one has to ask how he intends to fund two new positions when funding for the new recreation center is still a pipe dream, revenues are down, and state assistance is disappearing. We balanced the budget on credit last year which included a highly contentious raise for the office of Mayor.

Gail Smith has been a long time ally of Cohen and an appointment was to be expected. The creation of a new position in the “Core Administrative Team” (presumably at a “Core Administrative Salary”) was a bit of a surprise. At the press briefing, Cohen did little to explain the position beyond saying it was a new one. Hopefully, there will be more details forthcoming.

The other surprise was the appointment of Doug Smith. Late last night, Annapolis Political Scene speculated that Smith was to be the City Administrator at a salary of $140,000–$25,000 more than our current City Administrator. Smith was the driving force behind the City Manager initiative that failed to gain enough support to be on the ballot in the election.  Both Smith and Cohen have professed that the city needs an ICMA (International City/County Management Association) certified manager at the helm. Cohen wanted an “administrator” to report solely to him; Smith was calling for a “manager” who would report to the Council as a body.  According to the biography, Doug Smith is extremely well qualified in the business world, but has no municipal experience (other than activism) and does not appear to be certified by the ICMA. Will there be an ICMA “administrator” hired as Cohen promised during the campaign? If so, the question remains where is the funding for the new position created for Smith?

We imagine that when Cohen officially becomes Mayor on Monday, we will continue to see some more shakeups at City Hall. While Cohen categorized this as a core team, there are many other appointees by outgoing Mayor Moyer who are likely to leave as well–some may be sooner than later.

Douglas E. Smith, Chief Administrative Officer, is a business professional and a leader in community service. Mr. Smith has helped build successful commercial operations for major corporations while also contributing to improve the quality of life in his local community. On the commercial side, he has held senior management positions with Fortune-100 corporations, and has been a founder, president and CEO for a number of high-tech start-up companies. Mr. Smith holds a B.S. and M.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Ohio State University, with post-graduate work in mergers and acquisitions. His business background includes senior positions with PPG Industries, Digital Equipment, Compaq Computer and EMC. Mr. Smith’s industry experience covers large-scale manufacturing, high-value pharmaceuticals, computer software and services, and most recently, solar energy products. Mr. Smith is president of the Annapolis Ward One Residents Association and treasurer for the Downtown Annapolis Partnership, a 501 c (3) organization working with city government and local businesses to strengthen the commercial business climate in downtown Annapolis. He and his wife, Karen, have been homeowners in Annapolis since 1999, moving permanently to the city in 2005. They have two grown sons, both attorneys, and four grandchildren.

Karen M. Hardwick, ESQ- City Attorney, is a seasoned general counsel and litigator. Ms. Hardwick joined the law firm  of ‘Hogan and Hartson L.L.P. as an associate in 1988 and eight years later became the first African American woman to rise through its ranks to partnership. In her sixteen years of practice with the firm, she successfully litigated business tort, unfair competition, public utility, intellectual property and contract disputes in the Maryland and District of Columbia state and federal courts and in federal courts across the country. Ms. Hardwick’s clients included Fortune 100 telecommunications and technology companies, real estate owners and developers, nonprofits, energy conglomerates and nationally known entertainers. She lives in Sixteenth Street Heights in
northwest Washington, DC and in Eastport, Annapolis, MD.

Kimla T. Milburn, , Director of Human Resources (J.D., SPHR, IPMA-CP), has held this position since her appointment in 1998. Ms. Milburn is a licensed attorney in Maryland where she practiced civil law prior to her appointment in Annapolis. Ms. Milburn holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government and Politics and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maryland. Currently, she serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-FIR) and was recently honored as a 2009 recipient of the TWIN Award for the YWCA of Annapolis and Anne Arundel County. Ms. Milburn has also written articles published in the IPMA-HR monthly Magazine on Human Resources issues and published an essay titled “A Look in the Mirror” in the book Secrets of Local Government Human Resources Professionals by Oracle Corporation. Ms. Milburn lives in Maryland with her husband, Michael, and their three children Michael Jr., Benjamin and Kristina.

Tim Elliott, Finance Director, was hired as Chief Accountant for the City of Annapolis in February, 1983; promoted to Assistant Director in July, 1994; took over as Acting Director in January, 2002 and appointed Finance Director in July, 2002. Prior to coming to the City was employed in November, 1979 as a Fiscal Associate with the General Accounting Division, Comptroller of the Treasury, State of Maryland. Mr. Elliot serves on the Maryland Government Finance Officers Associations Executive Board, the Accounting and Audit Committee of the Local Government Insurance Trust Board of Directors, and the Mid-Atlantic Pension Plans Executive Board. He is married and has two children.

Gail Smith, Director of Services, has a long and distinguished career that includes working for a U.S. Senator, Congressman and the Director of the Poverty Program in the President’s Executive Office. She joined the Department of Family Services in Prince George’s County as Program Manager for the Community Integration Program and the Infants and Toddlers Program. Her work in the disability field resulted in numerous awards for her development and involvement in community programs as well as acknowledgment for displaying the highest standards of quality service. She received the Governor’s Citation for outstanding contributions to young children and families of Prince George’s County. Ms. Smith was a Community and Constituent Services Specialist with County Executive Janet Owens administration and later served as the Legislative Assistant to Anne Arundel County Council Member Joshua Cohen and Annapolis Mayor-Elect. Her extensive experience in community service and knowledge of the Greater Annapolis area has served her well continuing to act as a liaison with citizens, council members, county departments, state, and federal representatives. Her in-depth knowledge of the needs of the community coupled with her empathetic approach has proven to add value to the development of Mayor-Elect Cohen’s mission and objectives. Ms. Smith received her Masters of Social Work from the University of Maryland with a specialty in community organizing.

Phill McGowan, Public Information Officer, comes to Annapolis with more than 10 years of editing and writing experience for The Baltimore Sun. For more than three years, he worked as a reporter in Annapolis, covering city government, Anne Arundel County government, development/growth and military expansion. He worked previously at The Virginian-Pilot and the Associated Press. Mr. McGowan also has extensive new media experience. He obtained a master’s degree in interactive journalism from American University, where he acquired Web, video and social media skills from one of the elite new-media programs in the country. He leveraged that experience to become a social media specialist at The Sun, where he created and drove Web content strategies to build branding and engage audiences. In October, Mr. McGowan became editor at Virilion, an interactive Washington-based PR firm. He oversaw a team that produced blog content, social media messaging and other multimedia for a multi-million-dollar client. Mr. McGowan, a native of Portland, Ore., also holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Marquette University. He and his wife, Elza, have lived for the past eight years in Anne Arundel County. They have two small children.

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