published Friday, October 25th, 2013

Chattanooga Mayor Berke's top adminstrator leaves after six months

Andrew Kean Resignation
Andrew Kean Resignation
  • photo
    Andrew Kean, chief of staff to Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke, is resigning his job at City Hall.
    Photo by Doug Strickland.
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Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke's head of day-to-day operations is leaving after six months on the job. He is returning to the private sector.

"As a member of the Berke Administration, I am immensely proud of the work we have accomplished," Andrew Kean said in a statement Thursday. "I am honored to have worked with such an incredible team and will continue to be involved in their community priorities from the business world."

His last day will be Nov. 21.

Berke said he will announce a successor to Kean in coming days.

"Over the past several months, we have improved Chattanooga through investing in our youths, building stronger neighborhoods, and making our streets safer," he said in a statement. "Andrew Kean has been a valuable part of our efforts, working with others to reorganize government and improve our daily operations. I appreciate his service and wish him the best of luck."

In his resignation letter, Kean said the "responsibility of a young family does not coincide with the demanding schedule and rigorous nature of this position." Kean said he missed "many aspects of working in the private sector."

As for his future plans, the former Rock City Gardens vice chairman said he is taking a "leadership role" in an emerging company here.

Berke hired Kean on March 28 for $125,000 to run the daily operations of the government, a position Berke created when he took office.

"I wish Mr. Kean well and I look forward to continuing to do important work with the talented team the Mayor has assembled," City Council Chairman Yusuf Hakeem said in a statement.

On Aug. 20, the City Council voted unanimously to approve Berke's $212 million budget, which introduced the idea of budgeting for outcomes, which Kean was heavily involved in. Berke told the council the new budgeting for outcomes approach would transform the way the city does business. The administration cut $7 million from some departments to fund new initiatives, such as 40 new police officers and a city-funded federal prosecutor.

However, Hakeem noted that more work needs to be done to explain the budget -- and its goals -- to residents.

"When we tie funding to outcomes, I think that's fantastic," Hakeem said. "But what we're saying now is if we're putting funding out there, we want to see some outcomes that would say to the community we're investing their money in an appropriate, positive way."

Councilman Larry Grohn questioned the timing of Kean's departure, particularly with a new budget just off the ground.

Still, Councilman Chris Anderson said Kean's resignation is a loss for the city.

"Andrew is a really bright and talented guy," he said.

Contact staff writer Joy Lukachick at or 423-757-6659.

about Joy Lukachick Smith...

Joy Lukachick Smith is the city government reporter for the Chattanooga Times Free Press. Since 2009, she's covered crime and court systems in North Georgia and rural Tennessee, landed an exclusive in-prison interview with a former cop convicted of killing his wife, exposed impropriety in an FBI-led, child-sex online sting and exposed corruption in government agencies. Earlier this year, Smith won the Malcolm Law Memorial Award for Investigative Reporting. She also won first place in ...

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