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Baltimore mayor-elect Pugh names top staff

Mayor-elect Catherine Pugh taps state delegate, former interim schools CEO, former county executive for top st

Mayor-elect Catherine E. Pugh announced her top advisers Monday would include a former city interim schools CEO, state delegate and one-time Baltimore County executive.

Tisha Edwards, who left the city school system to become vice president of a foundation, will be Pugh's chief of staff. Pugh also selected Del. Peter Hammen as chief of operations and James T. Smith Jr. as chief of strategic alliances.

Karen Stokes will be director of government relations and Anthony McCarthy will be her communications director. Pugh will be sworn in at 11 a.m. Tuesday at the War Memorial.

"I am very excited to bring this dynamic team with me to City Hall," Pugh said in a statement. "This team has an exceptional track record of public service and they will help me to transform Baltimore into a thriving and vibrant city for businesses and residents," she added.

Edwards will manage the Mayor's Office, coordinate Pugh's public safety strategy and led transition efforts, including any government restructuring. She is executive vice president of corporate affairs for JS Plank & DM DiCarlo Family Foundation and served as interim schools CEO.

She also has worked as a senior adviser to Scott Plank's private real estate firm, War Horse. Plank is the brother of Kevin Plank, Under Armour CEO and Port Covington developer. The massive project is underway in South Baltimore.

Hammen, who has represented the city in the House since 1995, will oversee 12 city agencies as chief of operations, including the departments of public works, general services, health, housing finance and human resources.

The longtime delegate has served as chairman of the Health and Government Operations Committee since 2005.

Smith will oversee Pugh's economic development efforts and a variety of agencies, such as the transportation, fire and emergency management. He is a former secretary of the state Department of Transportation and a former associate judge on the Circuit Court of Baltimore County.

Stokes will be Pugh's primary lobbyist and liaison to the City Council, General Assembly and Congress. She previously served as the director of transition planning for then-Mayor Michael Nutter of Philadelphia. She also worked for former Gov. Tom Corbett of Pennsylvania.

McCarthy served as a campaign spokesman for Pugh and has run communications for outgoing Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, who did not seek re-election. He served in various roles in the last four mayoral administrations and previously was Rep. Elijah E. Cummings' communications director.

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