Mayor Slay Realigns Senior Leadership

City of St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay today announced personnel changes, including a new director of the Department of Public Safety.

“These changes will make my administration stronger by putting people in positions that take full advantage of their unique skills and experience,” Mayor Slay said.

The changes are as follows:

  • Richard Gray will become director of the Department of Public Safety.  Gray is the former president of the St. Louis Police Board, executive director of the St. Louis Gateway Classic Sports Foundation, and had a long, successful career as a senior business executive.
  • Fred Wessels will become the director of the Community Development Administration.  Wessels is the 13th Wward alderman and longtime chairman of the Housing, Urban Development and Zoning Committee.  He also runs the Peregrine Society in St. Louis, which provides services to improve the quality of life for cancer patients.
  • Inside the Mayor’s Office, Mary Ellen Ponder will move from Deputy Chief of Staff to Director of Operations.
  • Eddie Roth will move from Director of Operations to Deputy Chief of Staff for program implementation.
  • Michael Garvin, Deputy City Counselor, will serve as Acting City Counselor.

“Rich Gray is a strong manager and administrator who understands the biggest operation in Public Safety, the police department,” Mayor Slay said.  “He is also well suited to focus on issues of diversity within Public Safety.  Fred Wessels has both the public and private experience needed to run CDA well.  He also has a strong record of demanding results and quality for taxpayers’ money.”

Ponder will be responsible for day-to-day City services.  Roth will focus on bigger ideas and initiatives to improve the quality of life in the City.

“I’m excited and honored to be a part of the leadership team of the City of St Louis,” Gray said.  “The opportunity to have a voice at the table is one that I hope the people of St. Louis understand that I do not take lightly.  To the Mayor and has team, thank you.  I look forward to taking on the challenges of the new position.”

“I’m looking forward to working with HUD, CDA staff and elected officials to build on the changes made this year,” Wessels said.  “We’ve moved billions of dollars of residential and commercial real estate projects during the past 14 years I served as HUDZ chair, and I look forward to continuing to help move the City forward in the future.”

All personnel changes are effective immediately.