Chris Bowles, director of Mayor Karl Dean’s Office of Environment and Sustainability, has left for “an opportunity in the private sector,” Dean’s press secretary Bonna Johnson confirmed Tuesday.
Bowles’ exit marks the sixth member of Dean’s office to leave since February, turnover that has changed the roster inside the Mayor’s Office in the early days of Dean’s second term. Dean won his re-election bid in August by a wide margin against three political unknowns.
Four ex-Dean staffers have headed to various state government departments.
“They left for good opportunities, including four who joined Gov. [Bill] Haslam’s staff,” Johnson said in an email. “In a way, that is a compliment. We wish them well.”
Bowles joined the mayor’s office in April 2010. Johnson said Bowles’ final day as the mayor’s chief environmental director was last week.
In addition to Bowles, the following former Dean staffers have exited in the past 10 months:
• Alexia Poe, the mayor’s former director of the Office of Economic and Community Development, left in February to become Haslam’s communications director. Her successor as Dean’s ECD director is Matt Wilshire.
• Toby Compton, the mayor’s former legislative director, left to join Dean’s re-election campaign in March. Compton in June moved to the state Office of Economic and Community Development.
• Jim Hester, former senior advisor in the Mayor’s Office, left to join the Metro Parks and Recreation Department in September as a parks department special assistant.
• Toks Omishakin, the mayor’s former director of healthy leaving, departed in October to join the Tennessee Department of Transportation.
• Danielle Mezera, Dean’s chief education adviser, left in November to join the Tennessee Department of Education as the assistant commissioner of career and technical education.
Staples inside the Mayor’s Office, having served there multiple years, include Greg Hinote, deputy mayor; Janel Lacy, communications director; Marty Szeigis, legislative liaison; and Hershell Warren, a senior advisor.
The Mayor’s Office has added some new faces in the last 10 months:
Tam Gordon, former assistant to Gov. Phil Bredesen, joined Dean’s administration in February as a special assistant to focus on the mayor’s poverty reduction initiative. Janie Conyers, another ex-Bredesen staffer, joined Dean’s office in April to serve as chief administrative officer. Johnson joined Dean’s staff as press secretary in June.