Erie County Executive-Elect announces transition team

Local News

Erie County Executive-Elect Brenton Davis announced his transition team Thursday afternoon, including a dozen local leaders.

“Each of these men and women come from a diverse background of folks that truly reflect who Erie County’s population is and they’re going to offer insights in their ideas and how to best renew our county government, work towards jobs, inclusion, equity, and address human services,” Davis said.

Roger Richards, a prominent Erie attorney and a major backer of the Davis campaign, has agreed to chair the committee. Richards is the former chairman of the Erie County Republican Party and previous owner of several businesses in the Erie region. Richards will also hold the portfolios for state-county government relations and economic development. Positions on the transition committee are voluntary and unpaid. No taxpayer dollars will be expended in the transition planning. Richards noted that the panel’s goal is to examine the county government’s operation and make recommendations on staffing and general policy direction.

Fiore Leone, a former County Councilman and prominent Erie County Democrat, will serve as vice chair for County Administration/Operations. Leone was the longest serving member in Erie County government and a leader in the county’s Democratic community.

Bill McLaughlin, business manager for Laborers Union Local 603 will serve as vice chair for Labor and Worker issues. In his union role, McLaughlin represents workers in building trades and heavy construction in Erie, Warren and McKean counties.

John Persinger, chief executive officer for Erie Downtown Development Corp., will serve as vice chair for Urban Issues. An attorney with a specialty in in business and commercial transactions, Persinger previously served as an attaché in the Department of State.

Dr. Parris J. Baker, a prominent scholar at Gannon University and an authority on social work, will serve as vice-chair in charge of Human Services. An ordained Elder, Dr. Baker is pastor of Believer’s International Worship Center and founded and directs the Men of Valor Ministries and Abba Fathers program.

Chuck Scalise, executive director of the Edinboro University Foundation, will serve as vice chairman for inclusion issues. His experience includes more than 35 years as president and CEO of the Housing and Neighborhood Development Service.

The Rev. Kevin Nelson, he brings 34 years of experience in the marketplace and faith community. He continues to work on the diversification of those sectors for a better Erie.

Mary Schaaf, former Erie County Controller, and a trustee at Mercyhurst University, has signed on to serve as vice chair for fiscal policy. Schaaf spent 33 years as a senior financial advisor with Merrill Lynch, starting in 1977. Her community service includes serving on the board of SafeNet, an Erie domestic violence agency, and memberships in the American Association of University Women.

David Mitchell, outgoing Mayor of Corry and former northwest regional director for the Office of the Governor will serve as vice chair for workforce development and community college liaison. Mitchell’s government experience dates to 1981, when he was first appointed to the Governor’s Advisory Council by then-Gov. Dick Thornburgh.

Phil English, former Erie County Controller and a seven-term congressman from Erie, will advise on county-federal government relationships. English is an attorney with the firm of Arent Fox and an expert in federal policy.

Carl Anderson, Erie County Council Chairman and candidate for County Executive in the May Primary, will serve as liaison with the County Council. Anderson is chairman of the Erie County Retirement Board, and Co-Chair of the Covid Impact & Economic Revitalization Committee.

William Speros, a partner with the Erie law firm of MacDonald Illig, will provide counsel to the panel. Speros served as an officer and pilot in the United States Air Force and is a decorated veteran of several combat missions, including Kosovo, Afghanistan and Iraq.

“This diverse panel of experts has agreed to donate their time and insights to make certain that the transition to a new administration will go smoothly, allowing us to hit the ground running come January of next year,” Davis said.

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