Veteran Mayoral Staffer Kris Michell Named San Diego’s Chief Operating Officer

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Kris Michell. Image from Downtown Partnership video

The mayor Monday announced the appointment of native San Diegan Kris Michell as the city’s chief operating officer.

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Michell has served as deputy chief operating officer for special projects since 2017. If her appointment is approved by the City Council, she will succeed Scott Chadwick, who has accepted the same post in Carlsbad.

Michell previously worked in the private sector and as chief of staff for former San Diego mayors Susan Golding and Jerry Sanders, according to the mayor’s office.

“Kris has a results-driven approach that time and again has gotten big things done for San Diego,” Mayor Kevin Faulconer said.

“Her wealth of experience both inside and outside City Hall has earned her the respect of leaders on both sides of the aisle,” he said. “Since taking office I’ve made it a priority to make the city more efficient and effective, and Kris will work with our dedicated employees to ensure the public receives excellent service. We are embracing new ideas and approaches to deliver results for our neighborhoods, and Kris is the right person for the job.”

The chief operating officer oversees the day-to-day operations of the city on behalf of the mayor. The COO directly supervises the chief financial officer and the police and fire chiefs, and through subordinates, oversees the public works and neighborhood services operations of the city.

Chadwick served in the position since 2013. Faulconer called his leadership style “thoughtful, calm and strategic.”

“He has been an invaluable partner as I worked to return trust and stability to City Hall,” the mayor said. “An organization is only as good as its people, and Scott is without a doubt one of the finest city employees I’ve had the pleasure of working with.”

He credited Chadwick with negotiating contracts with the city’s labor unions, helping transform a capital program and adopting a new strategic plan.

“I’ve worked to instill a culture where character matters, we lead by example, and we care about our employees,” Chadwick said. “While I would love to spend the rest of my career at the City of San Diego, I have been presented with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We have achieved the operational goals I set out four years ago, and it could not have happened without the leadership of Mayor Faulconer, the support of our management team and the efforts of our talented employees. I love San Diego, and my experience working with such committed and hardworking people is something I’ll always carry with me.”

Michell returned to the city in 2017 after leaving City Hall to work as vice president of government relations for the Padres and president and chief executive of the Downtown San Diego Partnership. She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from San Diego State University, according to the mayor’s office.

—City News Service

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