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Mayor Greg Fischer Newsroom


Mayor Announces Increased Focus on Civic Innovation, Other Staff Changes

Wednesday July 23, 2014

Changes impact innovation, technology, human resources, roads

Mayor Greg Fischer today announced several key personnel changes including a Chief of Civic Innovation, a new general counsel, new department heads for human resources and technology and a new leader for the city’s snow and ice removal team.

“As we work to build the strongest, most innovative city government in America, we need the best and brightest leaders in critical positions,” Fischer said. “These new appointments are all experienced leaders who embrace innovation and the challenge of overseeing their departments and teams to be the best in America.”

The new appointments include:

Ted Smith's focus on innovation will continue as the Chief of Civic Innovation. He will be working within and outside of government to spur new ideas and innovation throughout the city. In this evolving role, Smith will build on the progress made by the Fischer administration to encourage innovation and support entrepreneurs by focusing on developing collaborations between the public and private sectors. Smith’s work will embrace two main goals including strengthening the city’s workforce system so that youth and adults are prepared for the more technology and skills-based jobs of the future. He will also concentrate on helping ensure success of new entrepreneurs and businesses by connecting them with key existing community resources. Closely connected to his growing civic engagement role, Smith will also be leading the newly formed Institute for Healthy Air, Water and Soil. The non-profit organization will focus on establishing “urban laboratories” to help the community tackle large projects that involve experimental research and technology. The first of those projects involves equipping citizens to gather air quality samples. Smith was appointed by Fischer in 2011 to be the city’s first Chief of Innovation. His duties were later expanded as he became chief of the Department of Economic Growth and Innovation. Smith was previously a senior innovation advisor for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. He has also worked in the private sector in Louisville and was co-founder and president of the company, MedTrackAlert.

Kellie Watson, who will be Fischer’s general counsel for legal matters and main liaison to the Metro Council. Watson has been the city’s Director of Human Resources since the administration began in January, 2011. She previously was Executive Director of Human Resource Management in the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and spent six years as the head of the Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission. She holds a law degree from Vanderbilt University. She replaces Pat Mulvihill who recently left as general counsel to take a top position in the County Attorney’s Office.

Sherri Toohey-Taylor, who will replace Watson as Director of Human Resources, after serving as assistant director of the department since 2012. Taylor, who has 20 years of experience in the human resources field, will lead the city’s HR programs and policies including compensation, benefits, recruitment and labor relations which support more than 6,000 employees in 31 agencies and departments. Prior to joining Metro Government, Taylor was Director of Corporate Personnel with the United States Postal Service in Washington, DC. She also spent 17 years with UPS in Louisville, serving as Manager of Operations and in other human resources and employee/labor roles. She holds a Master of Business Administration from Indiana University.

Jason Ballard as the new Director of Metro Technology Services, which is responsible for all aspects of technology for city government including computers, network security, MetroTV, the city website and software development. Ballard served 20 years with the United States Air Force leading large, multi-disciplined organizations and a broad range of information technology activities. He retired this year after four deployments. He has spent his entire career in IT, most recently as the Chief of Command and Control Systems at the Strategic Command in Omaha, Nebraska. He led a 150-person team with a $21 million annual budget and responsibility for 24/7 systems that linked military aircraft, submarines, remote missile fields and mobile platforms to senior military officials and national-level decision makers. Ballard has a Master of Business Administration from Columbia Southern University. He replaces Beth Niblock who became the CIO for the city of Detroit in February.

Jeff Brown, who will be the Assistant Director for Streets and Roads Operations in the Public Works Department. In this position, Brown will oversee all road issues including pothole repairs as well as leading the multi-agency city Snow Team which clears snow and ice from 1,400 miles of local roads. He began his city government career in 2006 and most recently served as Transportation Engineer Manager for the city’s Codes & Regulations Department. Brown holds a Master of Engineering degree from the University of Louisville. Brown will start Aug. 4 and succeeds Greg Hicks, who is retiring.