After the announcement of longtime Deputy City Manager Jeff Richardson’s departure Monday, the city of Asheville announced some changes in its upper management.
The position of Executive Director of Development and Multi-modal Transportation Cathy Ball “is being upgraded and the title is being changed to Assistant City Manager,” according to an announcement from the city. She’ll continue to oversee the planning, development services, economic development/U.S. Cellular Center, transportation and public works departments. City management also made interim development services director Shannon Tuch the official head of that department.
However, Ball isn’t taking over Richardson’s old job, nor does her title change mean a higher salary. Deputy City Manager is a separate position, and city staff will conduct the usual “nationwide search” for Richardson’s replacement.
“Over the last 16 years, Jeff has been an integral part of the city’s leadership. His broad experience, integrity and commitment to excellence will serve him well as a County Manager,” City Manager Gary Jackson declared in the announcement. “It will be a tall order to find someone with the experience and skills necessary to fill Jeff’s shoes.”
The city has seen multiple reorganizations this year. First, in February, they reshuffled senior staff so three — Ball, Richardson, and then-Finance Director Lauren Bradley — all oversaw multiple departments and reported directly to Jackson. The intent was to make the city’s structure “a pyramid instead of a rake,” Jackson said at the time.
Then Bradley departed for the Van Winkle law firm in June, and instead of replacing her position in the city’s oversight triumvirate, Jackson split her responsibilities between Richardson and Ball. Now the city manager’s immediate subordinates will consist of deputy and an assistant city manager (city spokesperson Dawa Hitch tells Xpress that the deputy will be slightly higher in rank than the assistant).
While this may sound confusing, Hitch notes “it’s the way we’re used to operating” since Bradley’s departure. Here’s a link to the city’s revised organizational structure.