St. Petersburg Mayor-elect Rick Kriseman has made a provocative and promising choice as his first hire for City Hall. Kanika Tomalin, a Bayfront Hospital administrator with deep ties in the community, will assume the title of deputy mayor and will include in her portfolio efforts to improve the city's struggling Midtown area.
Tomalin has a history of civic engagement and looking out for the concerns of minorities. At 38, she is considerably younger than many of the City Hall veterans who are set to retire in coming years, and her resume does not include prior experience in government or economic development. That ensures she will bring a fresh perspective to City Hall, but she will also need to learn quickly.
In Midtown, Tomalin will need to capitalize on the recent opening of Sylvia's restaurant, the coming Walmart opening in Tangerine Plaza, and the long-anticipated St. Petersburg College facility. And as a former journalist, she should appreciate that government needs to be as transparent as possible in service to taxpayers.
Less than two weeks after the election, Kriseman is setting a welcome, fresh tone for City Hall.