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Malden Mayor Gary Christenson introduces new staffers

Posted by Matt Byrne  January 5, 2012 03:00 PM

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In his third day in office, Malden Mayor Gary Christenson introduced his staff of seven, which include new positions focused on online services, constituent services, small business development, and community outreach.

All seven hail from Malden, the mayor said.

"I've been perplexed at times that out of 60,000 people, we can't utilize our talent here," said Christenson, explaining some of his hiring philosophy.

Christenson has appointed Kathleen Manning Hall, who managed his campaign, to oversee administrative duties and city department heads.

The largest change, however, is the addition of an online communications and social media specialist, Ron Cochran, who will oversee what the mayor said is a proactive approach to city services that will be new to Malden.

"When people call City Hall it's often too late -- people are already frustrated," Cochran said.

The mayor also vowed to hold a monthly online forum, the first of which is scheduled for Jan. 27 at 10 a.m.; Christenson also announced plants to host a bimonthly access television call-in show where residents can ask him questions directly.

He also reiterated a campaign promise to be the city's first mobile mayor, vowing to work remotely from throughout the city, and to handle personally a greater number of residents' questions.

Other new staff additions include two part-time constituent service clerks, Yan Yu, who speaks Mandarin, and Ted Louis-Jacques, a native Haitian Creole speaker.

Also added to the mix is Kevin Duffy, who will be point-person for business development. Christenson said the new positions will streamline the permitting and applications process for business owners who want to open in the city.

(In contrast, the Malden Redevelopment Authority focuses on large-scale development that often requires new construction.)

Christenson also introduced Karen Hayes, who will coordinate community outreach, and Carol Ann Desiderio, his executive assistant in charge of scheduling.

"We hit the ground running and we're very excited to more forward and help the city," Manning Hall said.

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