New OKC city manager makes first major personnel decisions
City Manager Craig Freeman named two new assistant city managers Monday, promoting candidates from within to join the next generation of executive leadership at City Hall.Planning Director Aubrey McDermid and interim Finance Director Kenton Tsoodle will begin their new duties May 3.
When he was selected in November to succeed Jim Couch as city manager, Freeman said individuals who "are good leaders, grow leaders."
That quality was on his mind Monday, as he said his decision was "difficult for a good reason," because so many excellent internal candidates were interested in moving up on his team.
Each of the three assistant city managers oversees a group of city departments.Laura Johnson, an assistant city manager since 2011, continues in her post. McDermid and Tsoodle succeed Dennis Clowers, who retired in February, and M.T. Berry, who retires May 30.The appointments of McDermid and Tsoodle are Freeman's first major personnel moves.
"I’m looking forward to putting their leadership skills to work in new roles to continue to advance Oklahoma City’s progress," he said.
Freeman has a third key personnel decision to make, as longtime police Chief Bill Citty is retiring April 30. Now, he will be looking for planning and finance directors, as well.
Freeman said he is reorganizing the assistant city managers' oversight responsibilities. Details could be finalized in a week, he said.
McDermid, 46, started with the city in 2000 as an associate planner, and was named planning director in 2014.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in environmental design and master’s degree in landscape architecture from the University of Oklahoma.
She is married to Anthony McDermid, co-founder and principal of TAP Architecture in Oklahoma City and a member of the MAPS 3 park subcommittee.
Before his retirement from the city council earlier this month, Ed Shadid said the Planning Department "deserves to be elevated to its rightful stature."
That seems more likely now that McDermid is taking an office in the city manager's suite at City Hall.
Tsoodle, 43, joined the city in 2002 as a management and budget analyst.
He was Freeman's top assistant when Freeman was finance director, the post he held before becoming city manager.
Tsoodle is a certified public finance officer. He earned bachelor's degrees from Oklahoma Baptist University in business administration-international business and Spanish.
Oklahoma City's financial management has earned top rankings with national bond-rating agencies.