Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke has lost his second chief operating officer in his first 15 months of office.
COO Jeff Cannon will leave City Hall in the next two weeks, the mayor's office said Friday morning. Cannon had held the office since late October, when predecessor Andrew Kean stepped down to run Chattanooga Whiskey Co.
Cannon declined to comment Friday. He said in his resignation letter that he wished to pursue sustainable development projects in the public and private sectors.
"As you know, my true passion is city and community revitalization, especially supporting those who reside in our urban core," Cannon wrote in his letter dated July 3.
Berke said Cannon has been with him since his campaign two years ago.
The mayor said he understood Cannon's desire to move on and that turnover isn't unexpected. Most of the people he chose to bring fresh ideas to City Hall had no prior city government experience, Berke said, and he didn't necessarily expect them to stay for an entire four-year term.
"I don't view this as negative for our city or for city government," Berke said. "I asked a lot of people to disrupt what they were doing and come work for the city for a period of time. I never told those people it had to be four years or six years or eight years."
Cannon is a former executive director of Green|Spaces. He also worked for several years with the downtown development group River City Co. before joining Berke's staff.
Berke appointed Deputy Chief Operating Officer Brent Goldberg to the top position. Goldberg, a certified public accountant, led the team that wrote the fiscal year 2015 city budget, the first budget that used the principles of budgeting for outcomes.
In a prepared statement, Berke said he has no doubt Goldberg will be successful in his new position, which still includes writing the city's budget. As for Cannon, the mayor called him a "great friend."
"I know Jeff is entrepreneurial at heart and he will take his knowledge and experiences to improve the lives of people living and working in our city," Berke said.
Goldberg will make the same salary that Cannon did, $125,000.
Contact staff writer Joy Lukachick at email@example.com or 423-757-6659.
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 ...