Mayor Rawlings-Blake Announces Key Mayor’s Office Staff Changes

Crest of the City of Baltimore

Brandon M. Scott
Baltimore City
250 City Hall - Baltimore Maryland 21202
(410) 396-3835 - Fax: (410) 576-9425


Monica Lewis

BALTIMORE, Md. (May 9, 2014)—Today, Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake announced key staff changes in the Mayor’s Office.

Kaliope Parthemos, currently Deputy Mayor for Economic and Neighborhood Development, will replace Alexander M. Sanchez as Chief of Staff. Ms. Parthemos will work with the mayor’s cabinet and staff to oversee the day-to-day operations of City Hall. The mayor also named Kimberly Morton, the current Deputy Director and Chief of Staff for the Department of Public Works, to replace Kym Nelson as Deputy Chief of Staff.

Colin Tarbert, the current Deputy Director for Economic and Neighborhood Development will replace Parthemos as Deputy Mayor for Economic and Neighborhood Development. Leon F. Pinkett, currently Senior Economic Development Officer at the Baltimore Development Corporation, will replace Tarbert as Assistant Deputy Mayor for Economic and Neighborhood Development.

Dawn Kirstaetter will serve as Deputy Mayor of Health, Human Services, Education, and Youth. Vu Dang, currently the Chief Service Officer, will serve as Assistant Deputy Mayor for Health, Human Services, Education, and Youth.

Catalina Rodriguez will serve as the Director of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant and Multicultural Affairs.

“I would like to thank Mr. Sanchez and Ms. Nelson for their service in my administration as we have worked to continue growing our city, eliminate blight from communities, and reduce violent crime,” Mayor Rawlings-Blake said. “As we move forward with my agenda to grow Baltimore City by 10,000 families through safer communities, better schools, and property tax reduction, my senior team will bring more than five decades of experience in local government and senior level management to City Hall.”

Additional background on Mayor Rawlings-Blake’s new appointments can be found below.

Kaliope Parthemos, Chief of Staff

Kaliope Parthemos most recently served as Deputy Mayor of Economic and Neighborhood Development in the Rawlings-Blake Administration, where she was a senior advisor to the mayor on all matters related to economic and business development and inclusion strategies, as well as planning, zoning, housing, recreation and parks, and numerous special projects.

Parthemos oversaw various agencies critical to economic and neighborhood development, including the Baltimore Development Corporation, the Department of Recreation and Parks, the Planning Department, Baltimore Housing, the Mayor’s Office of Employment Development, and the Office of Minority & Women Owned Business Development. Parthemos worked on major economic development initiatives, including Vacants to Value, the mayor’s signature blight elimination and community redevelopment program; implementing BaltimoreMICRO, the City’s first business micro-loan program; establishing the mayor’s UniverCity Partnership and anchor institution strategy; developing a comprehensive recreation center capital plan; and promoting local, small and women owned business policies, among other accomplishments.

Parthemos has spent more than 7 years in management positions in Baltimore City government, including serving as Deputy Chief of Staff for then-City Council President Rawlings-Blake. In that capacity, Parthemos advised the Council President on all matters related to proposed zoning and liquor licensing changes, special financing proposals, the Board of Estimates, and planning and real estate development outcomes. Additionally she directly supervised the Office of Neighborhoods and Office of Constituent Services.

Born and raised in Baltimore City, Parthemos has deep roots in Baltimore communities—having served as a foster care caseworker with the Baltimore City Department of Social Services and as a Public Defender in Baltimore City for five years. She grew up in Baltimore’s historic Greektown where she is currently a member of Saint Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. She attended Baltimore City Public Schools and is a graduate of the University of Maryland Baltimore County and the University of Maryland School of Law.

Kimberly Morton, Deputy Chief of Staff

Kimberly Morton has served as Deputy Director and Chief of Staff for the Department of Public Works (DPW) since January 2011. Morton handled daily administrative functions, ensuring that departmental policies, practices, and procedures were in compliance with city, state, and federal laws and regulations.

Before her service in city government, Morton worked extensively as a prosecutor and legal counsel. From 2004 to 2010, Morton was Deputy State’s Attorney for Baltimore City, as well as Deputy Counsel in the Governor’s Office of Legal Counsel from 2003 to 2004.

Morton began her career as Assistant State’s Attorney in the Office of the State’s Attorney for Baltimore City, where, for over a decade, she specialized in juvenile and youth violence initiatives and represented the State of Maryland in both jury and bench trials.

Morton attended Baltimore City Public Schools and is a graduate of Morgan State University. She holds a law degree from the University of Maryland.

Colin Tarbert, Deputy Mayor, Office of Economic and Neighborhood Development

Colin D. Tarbert has served as Deputy Director for Economic and Neighborhood Development since 2010. Tarbert began his career with Baltimore City as a mayoral fellow in 2004. He joined Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) in 2006 and went on to serve as a senior economic development officer before assuming his role in the Mayor’s Office in 2010.

As Deputy Director, he served as the mayor’s appointee on the Planning Commission and worked closely with City agencies on major initiatives, including Transform Baltimore, the City’s first comprehensive rezoning in over 40 years. Tarbert has been instrumental in leading key mayoral initiatives, including serving as co-chair of the mayor’s Downtown Task Force; the creation of an apartment tax credit program; and the improvement of Penn Station as a major gateway into Baltimore City.

Tarbert graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) degree in architecture from the University of Maryland, where he subsequently earned his Master of Architecture (M.Arch.) degree.

Leon F. Pinkett, Assistant Deputy Mayor, Office of Economic and Neighborhood Development

Throughout his extensive career as a public servant in Baltimore City, Leon F. Pinkett has proven experience in strengthening communities, community organizing, and commercial development in urban centers.

Pinkett served as Chief of Staff for former Councilman Keiffer J. Mitchell, Jr., from 1997 – 2005. In December of 2005, Pinkett joined Baltimore Development Corporation (BDC) as an economic development officer for the Commercial Revitalization Team and was later promoted to West Team Director. During his eight years at BDC, he was responsible for over 20 redevelopment projects, totaling more than $700 million of investment—including the Mondawmin Mall redevelopment, Horseshoe Casino Baltimore, and the Shop Rite Grocery Store in Howard Park.

Pinkett was born and raised in Baltimore City. He received his undergraduate degree from Guilford College and is currently earning his master’s degree in negotiations and conflict management at the University of Baltimore.

Dawn Kirstaetter, Deputy Mayor, Office of Health, Human Services, Education and Youth

Dawn Kirstaetter has served as Chief Operating Officer for Associated Black Charities (ABC) since 2010. Kirstaetter managed the daily operations of ABC including administration, human resources, finance, facilities information technologies, and development.

With almost 20 years of experience in nonprofit senior leadership, women’s health, and youth and family services, Kirstaetter has served as Executive Director of affiliates of nationally known organizations, including the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

She served as the Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Clubs in Dallas, TX; Montgomery County, MD; and Baltimore, MD. She also served as Grants Manager for the Washington, DC clubs.

While serving as Executive Director of a Planned Parenthood affiliate in Berea, KY, Kirstaetter also served as President of the statewide Kentucky Association of Planned Parenthood Affiliates and was an instructor in the Department of Anthropology, Sociology, and Social Work at Eastern Kentucky University for three years.

Kirstaetter attended Baltimore City public schools, earned a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in government from Georgetown University and a Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) degree from Clark Atlanta University.

Vu Dang, Assistant Deputy Mayor, Office of Health, Human Services, Education and Youth

Vu Dang has served as Chief Service Officer in Mayor Rawlings-Blake’s administration since September 2010. Dang developed and implemented strategies to mobilize and align citizens and cross-sector stakeholders behind collective efforts to improve services and outcomes for the city’s residents.

From 2007-2009, Dang served as Executive Director of the International Rescue Committee’s Washington, DC regional office. In this role, Dang led the organization through dramatic growth, quadrupling its budget, tripling its staff, and building it into the largest and most influential service provider to thousands of refugee immigrants in Maryland, DC, and northern Virginia.

Before coming to the Mid-Atlantic region, Dang was Assistant Director of The Carter Center’s Global Development Initiative, where he advised the Office of the President of Mali on developing and advancing poverty reduction policies within government departments and among international partner institutions. Dang was also a consultant to the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the World Bank, and the Peace Corps on health, education, and community development issues.

Dang lived in Guinea, West Africa for two years, where, as a Peace Corps volunteer, he founded a pre-K and elementary school. He began his career with Teach For America, serving in the Seattle Public Schools as a language arts teacher.

Dang has a Master of Public Policy (M.P.P.) degree from the Harvard Kennedy School, and a B.A. in political science from the University of Houston.

Catalina Rodriguez, Director, Office of Immigrant and Multicultural Affairs

The newly created Mayor’s Office of Immigrant and Multicultural Affairs (MIMA) is a result of a recommendation from “The New Americans Task Force, The Role of Immigrants in Growing Baltimore”—a group of public-private partners that came together in the summer of 2013 to develop a plan to retain and attract immigrants as part of the mayor’s goal to grow Baltimore.

Consistent with nationally recognized best practices for welcoming and integrating new Americans, MIMA will be dedicated to recognizing the assets, resources, and opportunities that immigrant communities bring to our city, and developing partnerships to sustain their development. This will be achieved by the implementation of the task force’s recommendations to make Baltimore a welcoming place while maximizing opportunities for economic growth.

Rodriguez currently serves as the Language Access Coordinator and Hispanic Affairs Liaison for the Mayor’s Office. As the Language Access Coordinator, she oversees the City’s compliance with federal regulations related to serving its Limited English Proficient (LEP) constituency. In addition Rodriguez works with Baltimore City agencies to craft programs to target the city’s estimated 30,000 Hispanics/Latinos.

She is actively involved in community initiatives and serves as staff for the Baltimore City Hispanic Commission. She is a member of the Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs, the Johns Hopkins Urban Health Institute (UHI) Community University Collaborative Council (CUCC), Providers by the Maryland Office of Refugees and Asylees, Johns Hopkins Centro Sol, Legal Aid Language Access Task Force, and the Baltimore Police Department’s Hispanic Advisory Council for Safety.

Rodriguez received a bachelor’s degree in international studies with a concentration in Latin American Studies and Spanish Literature from Towson University. A native of Ecuador, Rodriguez moved to the United States in the year 2000.

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