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Mayor-elect Ken Welch announces 'key' staff selections

The roles of deputy mayor, communications director and interim city administrator are officially filled.

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — There are some new faces heading to the mayor's Office as Mayor-elect Ken Welch gets ready to begin his term as the City of St. Petersburg's next leader.

The day before his inauguration — which is being held virtually because he tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week — Welch announced three "key people" who will round out his administration.

First off, Stephanie Owens, who worked as Welch's transition director and campaign manager, will serve as St. Petersburg's deputy mayor and chief of policy. 

According to a press release, Owens has more than 20 years of public policy experience in Florida and Washington D.C. and has served as an appointee of President Barack Obama and President Bill Clinton. 

Owens has also held senior roles at the White House and Department of Health and Human Services, worked with the Environmental Protection Agency and led a Clinton Presidential Task Force in Florida.

RELATED: St. Petersburg Mayor-elect Ken Welch to give virtual address on historic inauguration day

During her time leading the task force, Owens is credited with directing efforts of federal agencies' $46 million in programs "in response to civil unrest after the police shooting of an unarmed motorist."

According to a press release, her work created an urban revitalization model that former Florida Governor Jeb Bush then replicated. 

“Ms. Owens’ leadership, policy experience, and commitment to the mission of innovation and inclusion have played a key role in our success. As Deputy Mayor and Chief of Policy, she will continue her stellar public service to develop effective and impactful policy and programs that lift up every St. Petersburg resident.” Welch said.

The role of director of communications will be filled by Janelle Irwin Taylor, who has more than 10 years of experience in political journalism in the Tampa Bay area.

"She’s spent her career analyzing political strategy, government and policy at the local, state and national level," a press release reads.

Over the years, Irwin Taylor has served as the senior editor for Florida Politics and held roles at the Tampa Bay Business Journal and WMNF. She's also a regular pundit on local radio and television programs to provide insight on issues like education, public safety and the environment.

RELATED: St. Petersburg Mayor-elect Ken Welch grateful for vaccine, booster after testing positive for COVID

Under Welch's administration, Tom Greene, who has filled the role of St. Petersburg's assistant city administrator since 2018, will be bumped up to serve as the city's interim city administrator.

Prior to his current role, Greene served as the city's budget director. Greene brings more than a decade of experience working as an investment banker of public finance, according to a press release. 

“Inclusive Progress for our city will take a focused commitment to equity, innovation, collaboration and community impact,” Welch said. “I am thrilled to welcome these new staff members to the excellent team already in place at City Hall. Each has a depth of experience and dedication to our city that will serve citizens well.”

Welch is set to make history Thursday when he is sworn in as the first Black mayor of St. Petersburg. Welch's inauguration speech will be broadcast live on the city's television channel, St. Pete TV and will be on the city's Facebook page

You can also watch it live on 10 Tampa Bay, our Facebook page and YouTube channel.

RELATED: St. Pete mayor-elect postpones community events amid spike in COVID cases

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