Two members of Mayor Andy Berke’s administration-Lacie Newton and Justin Wilkins-are leaving, officials said Friday afternoon.
Newton, the mayor’s senior adviser, and Wilkins, the deputy chief of staff, are both going back to the private sector, according to a news release.
Wilkins is leaving within the next 30 days, and Newton’s last day is today.
Wilkins has been with the Berke administration since 2014, while Newton has worked in city government since the mayor’s transition in 2013.
Both Wilkins and Newton have contributed to key projects during their tenure in city government, including the mayor’s challenge to end homelessness among the city’s veterans, the response to the July 16, 2015, attacks, and the establishment of the Family Justice Center, according to a news release.
Newton will reopen the private consulting business she operated prior to her tenure in the administration, and Wilkins will be launching a statewide advocacy and civic engagement initiative in Tennessee, according to the news release.
“Justin and Lacie have been both incredible public servants,” Berke’s Chief of Staff Stacy Richardson said in a prepared statement. “They are two of the most hardworking and dedicated professionals I have had the pleasure of working with. Everyone in our office wishes them the best as they further their careers in the private sector.”
Last year, Newton and Berke faced allegations they were having an inappropriate relationship. Both of them denied that. Click here for more background.
Berke, Wilkins and Newton also came under scrutiny in 2016 about their use of WhatsApp. Click here for more background.
The Berke administration is in the final stages of hiring for several appointments, including a deputy of economic development and a chief of police, according to the news release. Former Police Chief Fred Fletcher announced his retirement in April. Click here for more about that.