St. Pete Mayor Ken Welch announces four new hires following city hall shakeup

Weeks after two St. Petersburg City Hall employees resigned amid bullying allegations, the mayor announced four new appointments.

In a press release, Mayor Ken Welch said the following people have been hired:

  • Jordan Doyle Walsh as Interim Chief of Staff
  • Alizza Punzalan-Randle as Managing Director for Communications and Community Engagement
  • Erica Riggins as Public Information Officer
  • Shelly Loos as Director of Stakeholder and Community Engagement

"I’m incredibly excited to announce these impactful appointments to our administration," Welch said in a statement. "Their decades of work in the community will prove invaluable as we continue our mission towards inclusive progress. Collaborating with the community and key stakeholders is imperative to ensuring transparency and accountability at all levels of this administration."

In early September, the city’s communications director, Janelle Taylor, resigned Thursday – citing a hostile work environment "all related to my direct supervisor," which was deputy mayor Stephanie Owens. Mayor Welch placed Owens on administrative leave, but soon after, she resigned as well.

MORE: St. Pete deputy mayor resigns following bullying allegations

The following week, the mayor announced he will eliminate the deputy mayor position in his administration. Instead, the chief of staff will work closely with city staff.

PREVIOUS: St. Pete mayor eliminates deputy mayor position following City Hall resignations, bullying allegations

"I do not believe that there is a pervasive, hostile work environment in our city," he said on Sept. 8. "But as mayor, I need to base my decisions on facts and data, not solely on my beliefs. So, I'm taking steps to make sure that we acquire feedback from our employees in the current workplace environment so that our employees feel more empowered to report any inappropriate behavior."