Christi Branscom, Deputy to the Mayor & Chief Operating Officer to Leave City

Communications Director

Jesse Fox Mayshark
jmayshark@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3710

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

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News item

Christi Branscom, Deputy to the Mayor & Chief Operating Officer to Leave City

Posted: 07/19/2017
Christi BranscomChristi Branscom, the City of Knoxville’s Chief Operating Officer and Deputy to the Mayor, announced today that she will be leaving city government at the end of September to return to the private sector.

Branscom has been the City’s COO since 2013 and has overseen major improvements in City operations and significant economic development efforts. She first joined Mayor Madeline Rogero’s administration in 2012 as Senior Director of Public Works. She is rejoining Partners Development as Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel, and will resume her position as President and CEO of Grace Construction. Partners is a 43-year-old real estate development firm located in downtown Knoxville.

“I am incredibly proud of the work we have done at the City of Knoxville these past five and a half years,” Branscom said. “It has been an honor to serve with Mayor Rogero and our whole team of dedicated professionals, and I have learned so much about our city and our community. I have also learned that I really love public service, and I want to think about other ways to continue to serve. 

“I’m leaving because of some great opportunities at Partners in the near future. This move will also give me the chance to thoughtfully evaluate my options for the future, including possibly seeking public office.”

Mayor Rogero said, “Christi has been an invaluable member of my leadership team. She has been instrumental in professionalizing and modernizing operations across many City departments. She has also taken on challenging projects that simply wouldn’t have been accomplished without her, from negotiating with the state for the complex transfer of Lakeshore Park property to the City, to hammering out the agreement that brought Regal Entertainment’s headquarters to the South Waterfront.” 

During her time with the City, Branscom has been involved in scores of projects and initiatives. As COO, she oversees more than a dozen City departments and offices, including Finance, Public Service, Engineering, Parks and Recreation, Knoxville Area Transit and Information Systems.

Among her accomplishments, Branscom:

• Structured and negotiated the deal that brought the Regal Entertainment Group’s corporate headquarters downtown, bringing 365 jobs and $18 million in capital investment;
• Managed department operations efficiently, producing savings of more than $13 million over the past five years in the City’s operating budget; 
• Oversaw planning and construction of the City’s new Public Works Service Complex on Morris Avenue; 
• Put together the public-private partnership that funded the new Walnut Street Garage downtown, providing new free public parking on evenings and weekends; 
Managed the transfer of Lakeshore Park property from the State of Tennessee to the City, and subsequent site improvements and demolition of abandoned buildings;
• Negotiated the transfer of the State Supreme Court property on Henley Street to the City for redevelopment;
• Improved customer service in Plans Review and Inspections through pre-submittal conferences, multi-disciplinary inspectors, and a pending reorganization of all development services to the same floor of the City County Building for one-stop shopping; 
• Managed the City’s investments and involvement in encouraging entrepreneurship via the creation of the Knoxville Entrepreneur Center (Branscom is Vice Chair of the KEC board);
• Oversaw the hiring of SMG to professionalize and modernize operations at the Civic Auditorium and Coliseum and Chilhowee Park and Exposition Center, leading to increased bookings and improvements at both facilities;
• Facilitated permitting and approvals for the University Commons project, on an abandoned brownfield adjacent to the University of Tennessee; 
• Professionalized staff and hiring and improved customer service across departments;
• Worked with KAT to increase ridership, add Google Transit, make bus passes available online, and other improvements; and
• Oversaw improvements to the Henley Street Pedestrian Bridge.

“It’s quite a list of achievements,” Mayor Rogero said. “And that doesn’t include Christi’s always insightful daily counsel on any number of ongoing issues. Our whole administration will miss her steady guidance, and personally I will miss her tremendously. I understand her desire to pursue other opportunities at this point, and I wish her all the best. The City of Knoxville has benefited greatly from her service.”

Mayor Rogero expects to make decisions about filling Branscom’s role and responsibilities in the coming weeks.