By Zack McMillin, Memphis Commercial Appeal
August 9, 2010

County Mayor-Elect Mark Luttrell’s 14-member transition team features a diverse list of names that cross partisan and racial lines and represent leaders in the public and private sector.

Luttrell, currently the Shelby County sheriff, also announced his intention to bring Sheriff’s Office Chief Administrative Officer Harvey Kennedy with him from 201 Poplar to be the new chief administrative officer for Shelby County government. Currently, Jim Huntzicker handles the duties of county CAO and county chief financial officer, but Luttrell intends to separate those positions.

He said he will talk to Huntzicker about whether he will remain with county government. Kennedy has worked with Luttrell for 11 years, going back to his days as a prison warden.

The new administration is scheduled to take office on Sept. 1.

“Harvey is one of the more knowledgeable people in county government I know,” Luttrell said. “Not only is he knowledgeable about administration and finance, but he has a very good touch with people. He’s handled a lot of employee issues and done a good job and has a very good relationship with the County Commission. To me it was a natural fit.”

Luttrell has asked the transition team to focus on four areas:

Creating a more business-friendly environment.

Strengthening relationships with local and state governments.

Finding ways to improve efficiency and quality of public schools.

Public safety, specifically following the Operation Safe Community blueprint.

Of his transition team, which will bring back a report in 60 days, Luttrell said: “They are people that during the course of the campaign I had a chance to sit down and talk to. I tried to use the campaign as a learning experience. I knew I had the administrative skills but I had to get smarter on the issues.”

The transition team will be led by Stephen Reynolds, president and CEO of Baptist Memorial Health Care Corp., and Elaine Sanford, president and owner of Young-Sanford Marketing and Media Services. Other members are:

Luke Yancy III, president and CEO, Mid-South Minority Business Council.

Roby S. Williams, president, Black Business Association of Memphis.

Robert Staub, Small Business Success coach and founder of SmallBiz Memphis.

Gwyn Fisher, executive director, MPACT Memphis.

Art Gilliam, president, Gilliam Communications Inc.

Jim Ethridge, CEO, Ethridge Enterprises.

Mark Norris, attorney at Adams and Reese, LLP, and State Senate majority leader.

Shelby County Dist. Atty. Gen. Bill Gibbons.

J.W. Gibson, CEO of Gibson Companies.

Bartlett Mayor Keith McDonald.

Jayne S. Creson, retired Shelby County clerk (1993-2006).

Kelly Rayne, deputy CAO, city of Memphis.

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