Mayor-elect Donna Deegan announces executive team to lead City Hall

The names include WJCT News 89.9 personality Melissa Ross, as well as former and current city officials.

Jacksonville Mayor-elect Donna Deegan announces the executive team for her incoming administration June 14 at a news conference at City Hall.
Jacksonville Mayor-elect Donna Deegan announces the executive team for her incoming administration June 14 at a news conference at City Hall.
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Jacksonville Mayor-elect Donna Deegan announced key positions on her executive team that will lead her administration when she takes office July 1, a group that includes longtime Northeast Florida public radio personality Melissa Ross.

Deegan, a Democrat, made the announcement in a news conference June 14 in the atrium at City Hall Downtown.

The list of 11 hires includes current and former city officials, according to a news release.

• Chief Administrative Officer Karen Bowling is director of entrepreneurship and innovation at the University of North Florida. Bowling served as the chief administrative officer for the city under Mayor Alvin Brown and was CEO of the Solantic urgent care clinic network and a health care executive.

• Chief of Staff Pat McCollough is a mayoral transition team adviser and managed Deegan’s campaign. McCullough is a retired U.S. Marine sergeant major. She also has led regional, state and national public health, political, organizing and advocacy campaigns.

• Chief Communications Officer Phil Perry also is on Deegan’s transition team and led communications for her mayoral campaign. Perry has provided strategic communications counsel to national nonprofits, Fortune 500 companies and political campaigns at all levels.

Ross will serve as director of strategic initiatives and liaison to the press. She is the host of “First Coast Connect” on WJCT News 89.9 and co-host of the statewide program “The Florida Roundup.” She has been a television anchor at First Coast News, a reporter and an executive producer.

• Chief of Public Safety Lakesha Burton is the crime and safety analyst for WJXT Channel 4 News4Jax. She served for 24 years in the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office, retiring as assistant chief, and ran for sheriff in 2022.

• Interim Chief Financial Officer Mike Weinstein will serve until October 2023. He is the CEO of the city’s Kids Hope Alliance. Weinstein was city CFO for multiple mayoral administrations and also as a Florida state representative. 

• Chief Financial Officer Anna Brosche is the relationship partner at BDO Alliance, an accounting and professional services industry organization. She previously managed a 40-person local CPA firm, is a former City Council president and was a 2019 Republican mayoral candidate. She will replace Weinstein in October. 

• Chief Health Officer Dr. Sunil Joshi is an allergist and immunologist for Baptist Health who has previously served as president of the Duval County Medical Society and several other local and state medical associations.

• Director of Diversity & Inclusion Parvez Ahmed is a professor of finance at the University of North Florida and a two-term member of the Jacksonville Human Rights Commission. Parvez also sits on the Jacksonville Museum of Science & History board.

• Director of Economic Development Ed Randolph is JEA director of economic development and previously was the city’s director of business development.

• Deegan’s Executive Assistant Erica Connor is a former practicing attorney, law school counselor and legal recruiter, with experience managing local and state political campaigns.

The incoming Deegan administration also plans to change leadership in the city Office of General Counsel. 

The mayor-elect announced she has appointed attorney Bob Rhodes to serve as interim general counsel, replacing the city’s top attorney Jason Teal starting July 1. 

Former General Counsel Jason Gabriel will chair the Qualification Review Committee to evaluate new general counsel candidates.

The Deegan team, from left: Executive Assistant Erica Connor; Chief of Staff Pat McCollough; Chief Administrative Officer Karen Bowling; Chief Communications Officer Phil Perry; Director of Strategic Initiatives and Liaison to the Press Melissa Ross; Chief of Public Safety Lakesha Burton; Chief Health Officer Dr. Parvez Ahmed; Chief Financial Officer Anna Broche; Interim CFO Mike Weinstein; Director of Economic Development Ed Randolph; Interim General Counsel Bob Rhodes; and general counsel search Qualifications Review Committee Chair Jason Gabriel.