published Saturday, April 27th, 2013

Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke appoints directors


by Cliff Hightower
James McKissic, second from right, newly named director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, speaks Friday, April 26, at the Bethlehem Center. Mayor Andy Berke, left, announced new City Hall roles, also including  Lurone Jennings, second from left, who will be the administrator of the Department of Youth and Family Development, and Blythe Bailey, right, who will be the administrator of the Department of Transportation.
James McKissic, second from right, newly named director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs, speaks Friday, April 26, at the Bethlehem Center. Mayor Andy Berke, left, announced new City Hall roles, also including Lurone Jennings, second from left, who will be the administrator of the Department of Youth and Family Development, and Blythe Bailey, right, who will be the administrator of the Department of Transportation.
Photo by Angela Lewis.

NEW HEADS

Youth and Family Develop-ment: Lurone Jennings

Trans-portation: Blythe Bailey

Multi-cultural Affairs: James McKissic

A former high school principal and football coach, a painter and an architect will lead three departments in Mayor Andy Berke's administration.

"I know they will wake up every day thinking about how to work together to address the issues that matter most to our community," Berke said in making the announcement Friday. "We are putting the best people in place to make a real difference."

Lurone Jennings will serve as Youth and Family Development administrator, Blythe Bailey will lead the Department of Transportation and James McKissic will direct the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

Salary information was not available for the three new appointments.

Jennings said he has a passion for youth and looks forward to working with Berke to create opportunities for children.

"Your vision, my vision," Jennings said. "Your team, my team."

Jennings is well known in the community for his years working with young people, first as a coach and principal at his alma mater, the Howard School, and most recently as executive director of the Bethlehem Center. He also has served as a minister.

Bailey is a former architect with River Street Architects. He graduated from McCallie High School in 1990. Bailey, who has served on boards focusing on urban design, knows the value of connectivity throughout Chattanooga, Berke said.

McKissic worked as vice president and chief operating officer for the Urban League of Greater Chattanooga. He is also a painter and has served on various art boards throughout the community.

Berke introduced the three men in a six-minute news conference in a gym at the Bethlehem Center in Alton Park.

Council Chairman Yusuf Hakeem said he is pleased with the selection of the three department heads.

"These are quality people, and I think he's moving in the right direction," Hakeem said.

Contact staff writer Cliff Hightower at chightower@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6480. Follow him at twitter.com/cliffhightower or facebook.com/cliff.hightower.

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