(St. Petersburg) -- Today, December 18, 2013, Mayor-elect Rick Kriseman made four final appointments to the Office of the Mayor before taking office January 2.
Kevin King will serve as Chief of Staff of the Mayor’s Office; Benjamin J. Kirby will serve as Director of Communications for the Mayor’s Office; David Flintom will serve as Director of the Mayor’s Action Center; and Jessica Eilerman will serve as the Mayor’s Small Business Liaison.
As Chief of Staff of the Mayor’s Office, Mr. King will help craft Mayoral policy and ensure that the operations of the Office of the Mayor and Deputy Mayor flow smoothly and efficiently.
Said Mayor-elect Kriseman: "Kevin is the natural choice to lead my office, ensure cohesion, and help turn my vision into action and then reality. I've seen him in action for more than a decade and trust that he'll be the effective chief of staff that a strong-mayor form of government deserves."
Said Mr. King: “I am looking forward to rejoining Mayor-elect Kriseman, directing the talented team in the mayor’s office, and helping to craft and advance a policy agenda that reflects the needs and wants of our community. The opportunity to help the mayor bring about positive change in my hometown is especially gratifying.”
As Director of Communications for the Mayor’s Office, Mr. Kirby will work with members of the media, the City of St. Petersburg Marketing Department, and others to effectively communicate Mayoral policy, plans, and actions.
Said Mayor-elect Kriseman: "What's happening inside City Hall must be clearly communicated to the residents that sent us there. Ben will help us achieve that goal. His experience with both new and traditional media, public institutions, and the political process make him an ideal fit for my office and a complement to our city's overall marketing and communications strategy."
Said Mr. Kirby: “Mayor-elect Kriseman has a vision where every business, neighborhood, and citizen of this great city has the opportunity to shine. I am honored to help him achieve that goal through transparency, accountability, innovation, and creativity. The City of St. Petersburg has a remarkable story to tell. I look forward to working with the extraordinary team Mayor-elect Kriseman has already put in place, the city staff, and the media to tell that story.”
Jessica Eilerman will serve as the Mayor’s Liaison to Small Business in St. Petersburg, serving as a vital bridge between small business owners and the Office of the Mayor. Reporting directly to Mayor Kriseman, small business now has a direct line to the Mayor’s Office in City Hall.
Said Mayor-elect Kriseman: "One of the highlights during my campaign for mayor was visiting our small, independently owned businesses and hearing suggestions on how government can be a help rather than a hindrance. Having Jessica in The Greenhouse and reporting directly to my office allows us to better serve these businesses and value the significant impact they have on the unique flavor and economic vitality of St. Petersburg."
Said Mrs. Eilerman: “It is an honor to help fulfill Rick Kriseman’s vision for supporting and growing our small business community. St. Pete is a unique, special and creative place and everyone should know what it has to offer. One of the best ways for that to happen is by encouraging, supporting and growing our locally-owned small businesses. I am eager to get to work.”
The Mayor’s Action Center is designed to serve the citizens of St. Petersburg quickly and efficiently. From questions about government services to neighborhood issues, the Action Center will serve as the nexus between the Office of the Mayor, and citizens seeking assistance from their local government.
Said Mayor-elect Kriseman: "David's customer service experience has already served our community well at the state legislative level. He recognizes the potential that the Mayor's Action Center has to make life easier and better for our residents and understands how efficient problem-solving can equate to a savings in time and money."
Said Mr. Flintom: "The opportunity to make St. Petersburg better and assist the mayor’s constituents - the residents of St Petersburg - is a duty for which I am humbled to be given and ready to begin.”
A native of St. Petersburg, Kevin King has worked closely with Mayor-elect Kriseman for more than ten years.
In 2003, Mr. King managed the re-election bid for then-City Councilman Kriseman. From 2006-2012, he served as the Senior Legislative Assistant to then-State Representative Kriseman, overseeing the representative’s policy agenda and communications strategy.
Most recently, he served as an advisor to Rick Kriseman’s mayoral campaign, as a communications consultant to a statewide non-profit, and as the Florida Political Director for a nationwide network of faith-based community organizations.
In 2012, Mr. King managed a successful statewide campaign against Amendment 3, a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment which would have negatively impacted Florida's budget. As the director of the Florida Democratic Party’s House Victory operation in 2008, he managed a team of nearly two dozen campaign managers and the organization’s multi-million dollar budget.
Mr. King is a Political Fellow with the Truman National Security Project and has been published in The Diplomat, a current affairs magazine covering politics, society and culture in the Asia-Pacific region. He is a member of St. Pete Together, has served on the board of Creative Clay, Inc., and was an invited guest at the White House’s Community Leader Briefing Series in 2011.
Mr. King is a 2002 graduate of the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, earning a degree in Political Science. He lives in St. Petersburg with his wife and son.
Benjamin J. Kirby
Benjamin J. Kirby has worked in politics, federal and local government, and issue advocacy for 20 years, most recently as Principal of Typeset Media Strategies, a communications firm focused on the work of non-profits, political leaders, and drivers of community conversations.
Previously, he served as Communications Manager for the Juvenile Welfare Board, a special taxing authority in Pinellas County, Florida which provides critical services to at-risk youth and underprivileged families. He has served in the non-profit sector, working for the American Association of Kidney Patients, a healthcare education organization serving kidney patients and their families. He was also the Communications Director for the Parkinson’s Action Network (PAN), an education and advocacy group dedicated to finding better treatments and a cure for Parkinson’s disease.
During the Clinton Administration, Mr. Kirby served as the first Public Affairs Officer of the United States Parole Commission within the U.S. Department of Justice, where he developed the Commission’s first website. In 1998, he developed a website for the First Lady’s White House Millennium Council. He worked for more than five years serving two Drug Czars as an Administrative Assistant and Scheduler in the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy and held a variety of research and administrative positions at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Office of Presidential Personnel.
While working for the Clinton Administration, Mr. Kirby went to school in the evening and received an undergraduate degree in Political Communication from George Mason University. He lives in Gulfport, Florida, with his wife, daughter, and son.
Jessica Eilerman has spent her career working with small businesses in a variety of roles.
Recently, she worked at Florida’s Department of Financial Services as the Southwest Florida Market Manager. In this capacity she served as an on-the-ground resource for citizens and businesses in 11 counties along the Gulf Coast. In addition to outreach, communications, promoting DFS initiatives and representing CFO Atwater in the region, she worked on a variety of special projects relating to economic development and issues facing small businesses throughout the state.
Prior to DFS, Mrs. Eilerman spent more than six years with the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce most recently serving as their Manager for Public Policy and Economic Development. During her time at the chamber she worked under four different executives in a variety of roles, all of which related to supporting, assisting and representing the small business community of St. Petersburg. She has experience in policy development, campaigns, project management, association management and financial lending. Prior to moving to St. Petersburg in 2005, she was with a St. Louis-based credit union where she worked with small business owners and members.
She graduated with her Bachelor of Science from the University of Evansville and holds a Master’s degree from Webster University’s School of Business & Technology where she graduated with honors. She is involved as a volunteer in a variety of area nonprofits, is an active member at St. Paul’s in St. Pete and is a graduate of the Leadership St. Pete program. Mrs. Eilerman lives in St. Petersburg with her husband.
David Flintom served as the District Legislative Aide to Rick Kriseman throughout the mayor-elect’s tenure in the Florida House of Representatives. He was tasked with providing quality constituent service to a legislative district of more than 150,000 residents and managing the day-to-day affairs of the office. He served in a similar capacity for State Representative Dwight Dudley prior to becoming a Customer Service Manager for a local printing company.
Mr. Flintom has extensive experience in the customer service industry, including time with Continental Airlines, MCI Telecommunications, and Amazon.com. A graduate of the International Academy of Design and Technology, the University of South Florida, and Daytona Beach Community College, he has volunteered countless hours for local organizations.
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