New Chattanooga Mayor Kelly Announces Senior Staff

Photo Credit: Tim Kelly for Chattanooga/ Facebook

Published April 23, 2021 

Chattanooga, TN – Newly sworn-in Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly has announced his senior leadership team, bringing together a group from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors. 

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The newly appointed senior staff will begin work on Kelly’s 100-day plan in conjunction with his previously announced transition team to assemble an “experienced, capable, and diverse city staff that reflects the community it serves,” according to Kelly’ statement. 

“As I promised on the campaign trail, we have put together a talented team with the experience to get the job done, and we have done it while hiring a diverse group of Chattanoogans who mirror the city we all love,” Kelly said.  

Kelly’s leadership team will be led by Brent Goldberg as chief of staff, and Joda Thongnopnua as chief policy officer. 

Goldberg formerly worked as the chief business officer for Hamilton County Schools, and has also previously served as chief operating officer for the city of Chattanooga.  

In the private sector, he has worked in various leadership roles within the transportation industry. Goldberg is also a certified public accountant. 

Thongnopnua has served in several executive and senior roles within the nonprofit sector, including as director of strategic initiatives and communications at the Community Foundation, and was executive director of the Metro Ideas Project, an urban policy research organization.  

In the private sector, he served in a number of creative, strategic and communication roles in the start-up community. 

Kelly also announced the hiring of Dr. Mary Lambert as his director of community health.  

Dr. Lambert is a Chattanooga native who has served in multiple assignments across the nation, including with the assistant secretary of health, the White House, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  

She was also deployed in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks and in response to the national capitol anthrax exposure event.  

She is a retired O-6 from the U.S. Army and U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps.  

Dr. Lambert is currently serving as an associate professor at Vanderbilt University in the school of nursing and has advised Chattanooga’s COVID-19 response and approach.  

She also currently serves on the Chattanooga-Hamilton County Regional Health Council. 

Kelly stated, “Dr. Lambert is one of our nation’s most experienced and thoughtful public health leaders and we are very fortunate to have her in our community.”  

“Naming an experienced leader to this important position was one of my top priorities and I am looking forward to working with Dr. Lambert to ensure the public is involved in public health,” said Kelly. 

The mayor also announced the hiring of several other key positions and named two new interim administrators. 

Julia Bursch was named Deputy Chief of Staff.  She previously worked as the Director of Operations and Special Projects at River City Company.   

Ronald Elliott was dubbed Director of Community engagement.  He is a benefits specialist at Unum and previously worked as Director of Community Outreach in the Office of Family Empowerment for the City of Chattanooga. 

Maura Sullivan was appointed Senior Transition Coordinator and Directory of Recovery and Resilience.  She formerly worked as Chief Operating Officer for the City of Chattanooga. 

Ellis Smith was named Director of Special Projects.   He previously worked as Chief Marketing Officer for Kelly Companies – companies Tim Kelly managed including Kelly Subaru, Southern Honda Powersports, Workshop, Chattanooga Brewing Company and Socialbot. 

Brooke Satterfield was dubbed Director of Policy Planning and Implementation.  She was formerly Special Projects Manager in the office of previous Chattanooga Mayor, Andy Berke. 

Chris Anderson was appointed as Director of Innovation Delivery and Performance.  He is the Director of Development and Government relations at Greentech Homes and previously served as a Councilman for the City of Chattanooga from 2013 – 2017. 

Anthony Sammons was named Interim Administrator of Economic and Community Development.  Sammons was the Deputy Chief Operating Officer for the City of Chattannoga beginning in April 2017. 

Jermaine Freeman was dubbed Interim Deputy Administrator of Economic Development.  He previously worked as Deputy Chief of Staff in the Office of Mayor Berke. 

Kelly’s new Chief of Staff, Brent Goldberg stated, “All other current departmental leadership will remain in place in the current structure until June 30.  By then, our administration will have had the opportunity to present a new organizational plan and a budget framework to the City Council that aligns with Mayor Kelly’s vision and priorities.” 

“This team is ready to hit the ground running, and will work hard in service of every resident in every neighborhood,” Kelly said. 

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