Mayor Jones Announces Several City Appointments

~Deputy Chief Administrative Officer of Finance and Administration, Director of Economic Development, and Director of Parks, Recreation and Community Facilities Named~

Mayor Dwight C. Jones today announced the following city appointments; Eric M. Tucker to the position of deputy chief administrative officer of finance and administration; Lee Downey to the position of director of economic development; and Dr. Norman Merrifield to the position of director of parks, recreation and community facilities. Tucker begins city service on April 25, Downey begins work on May 2, and Merrifield will start on May 21.

During today’s announcement Mayor Dwight C. Jones stated that, “Eric Tucker’s accomplishments and comprehension of government finance and management reforms will prove to be a tremendous resource for the city of Richmond as we continue to position ourselves for future growth. Lee Downey and Norman Merrifield both possess a wealth of knowledge and experience as indicated in their many undertakings and advancements in their chosen fields. We look forward to utilizing all of their unique talents as we work to enhance resident services and enrich our quality of life.”

Tucker has served as director of finance for the localities of Prince George’s County, MD and Detroit, MI, where he coordinated rating efforts leading to upgrades for both jurisdictions’ bond ratings. During his tenure in Detroit, he managed a turnaround of a $63 million deficit into an $18 million surplus. He most recently served as principal of Professional Financial Management, based in Bozeman, MT, where he helped several local governments as well as the South African government with finance and management reforms.

Tucker holds a bachelor’s degree from Harvard University, a Master of Management from Northwestern University, and a Master of Taxation from DePaul University.

Since 2008, Downey served as the vice president of business development for McKinney and Company in Ashland, where he developed and monitored all marketing and business development plans and strategies for the full-service, multi-disciplined architectural and engineering firm. He previously held positions of Marketing Manager for McGuireWoods, LLP, and business development project manager for Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP). During his tenure at VEDP, he managed a variety of business development projects throughout the Commonwealth, creating over 4,000 new jobs and $375 million in new investment for the state, while saving 2,290 jobs from relocating outside Virginia.

Downey holds a Bachelor and Master of City Planning from the University of Virginia. He is a member of the Virginia Economic Development Association, the Greater Richmond Association for Commercial Real Estate, and the Hampton Roads Association for Commercial Real Estate.

Dr. Merrifield most recently served as the administrative executive officer and director of the Cincinnati Recreation Commission, and is credited with coordinating the commission’s first Comprehensive Strategic Program Business Plan. He also served as director of parks and recreation for the city of El Paso, TX, and completed the first Comprehensive Parks, Recreation and Open Space Master Plan in department history. He gained additional experience serving as the assistant superintendent for administration for the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board, deputy director for the Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation Department in Fort Wayne, IN, and administrator for Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department in Bloomington, IN.

Dr. Merrifield obtained his Bachelor and Master of Recreation and Park Administration and his Doctorate in Adult Education from Indiana University. He is a member of the National Urban Park and Recreation Alliance and the National Recreation and Park Association.