Sunday, April 22, 2018
Politics

Rick Kriseman outlines transition plans at St. Petersburg City Hall

ST. PETERSBURG — Mayor-elect Rick Kriseman held a news conference Wednesday morning to announce transition plans as he takes over for outgoing Mayor Bill Foster.

He said he has much to do.

The city has three main issues he needs to address right away — the police chief search, the future of the Pier, and the stalled negotiations with the Tampa Bay Rays.

"Bill Foster is still the mayor. I do not intend on doing anything to interfere with his ability to govern," Kriseman said to a mostly full room at City Hall. "We will work together. I want to hit the ground running on Day One."

Yvonne Scruggs-Leftwich and Andrew M. Hayes will co-chair the transition team, Kriseman announced.

Scruggs-Leftwich is a public scholar, policy analyst and professor at National Labor College in Silver Spring, Md. She is a former leader of the national Black Leadership Forum and held the position of deputy assistant secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under President Jimmy Carter, among other posts.

Hayes is the managing principal for St. Petersburg-based Hayes Cumming Architects. He has extensive experience in architectural design and has taught at several colleges and universities, including the University of South Florida. He also served 23 years in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, having flown combat missions in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

"I know both of these two and I'm extremely impressed with their intellect," Kriseman said, adding that he likes their diverse backgrounds.

The two co-chairs will give weekly public announcements regarding the transition before Kriseman is sworn in Jan. 2. No one else has been named to the team yet.

Kriseman garnered a decisive win Tuesday night in his campaign against the incumbent mayor Foster, taking in 56 percent of the city's vote to Foster's 44 percent. While Kriseman won support from six of the eight council members, he will face challenges once he takes office.

As mayor-elect, he must quickly decide how to proceed with the search for a new police chief. Police Chief Chuck Harmon retires on Jan. 6, and Foster already started a search to replace him.

Dozens of applicants from across the country have applied, with an approaching deadline of Nov. 15. On Tuesday, however, Foster said he would halt the search.

Kriseman has said he wants to hire an outside firm to lead the search and allow the council to play a role in the decision, something Foster opposed.

Times staff writer Mark Puente contributed to this report.

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