Lester Davis, a long-serving aide to Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young, confirmed that he is taking on an expanded role as both the mayor’s spokesman and top lobbyist.
Davis has worked for Young since March 2010, when he became City Council president. The new double job, which carries the title of Chief of Communications and Government Relations, is unusual and combines two functions that each carry their own heavy workloads.
“It’s a role that comes with an awesome amount of responsibility and I’m going to work very hard to live up to it,” Davis said Monday.
He will be paid $150,000, up from his $108,000 salary at the end of the last budget year.
The new role for Davis is part of Young’s push to build his senior team after taking over as mayor when Catherine Pugh resigned in May. Young previously announced the hiring of a chief of staff — Pugh’s had departed after Young suspended him — and four deputy chiefs.
Davis will report to Geri Byrd, the deputy chief of staff for administration and external affairs. He will be responsible for fielding questions from the media, dealing with the City Council and making the case for the city’s priorities in Annapolis and Washington.
In the Council president’s office, Davis served as a spokesman for Young but he took on other big projects, too. He had a major role in creating the city’s dedicated Children and Youth Fund, which devotes $12 million or so a year in grants, and was closely involved in efforts to reform the police department.
Pugh long went without a director of communications, hiring adviser Greg Tucker on a contract basis. She also employed James Bentley as a spokesman, and he has continued in the communications office under Young.
While Pugh was on leave before her resignation, Young — serving at the time as acting mayor — gutted the government relations office.
Davis said he expects to make several hires in his new role.