updated: 1/19/2006 8:40:57 AM

Indianapolis Mayor Makes Staff Changes

InsideIndianaBusiness.com Report

Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson announced today that Chief of Staff Jennifer Simmons will leave her post in March to explore opportunities in the private sector.

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John Dillon has been named chief deputy mayor and will take over for Simmons. Keira Amstutz, who has led the city's efforts on cultural development, will take on a new role as chief counsel and policy director for the mayor.

Source: Inside INdiana Business

Press Release

INDIANAPOLIS * Mayor Bart Peterson today announced that Jennifer Simmons, an original member of the Peterson administration and chief of staff to the Mayor for the past year and a half, will leave her post to explore other options in the private sector. She will remain in her position through the current legislative session which is scheduled to end in March.

He also announced that John J. Dillon will become chief deputy mayor and take over as chief of staff once Simmons departs in March. Keira Amstutz, who has led the city's successful efforts on cultural development since 2000, also will take on a new role as chief counsel and policy director for the Mayor.

"Jennifer Simmons has been one of my most trusted advisors since day one of our administration, and we would have never accomplished any of the things we have without her leadership," Mayor Peterson said. "I hate to see any of my team members leave, especially those who were with me since the beginning. But Jennifer told me when she took the job that she would leave around this time. I'm confident she will continue to be a leader in our community and do great things in the future."

"Likewise, whether in the public sector or private sector, John Dillon is one of the most experienced people I know," Peterson continued. "He is smart, astute and very tenacious, and I look forward to his leadership of my team and the city of Indianapolis."

As chief of staff, Simmons oversees day-to-day operations of city government. She previously served as deputy chief of staff, where she oversaw legislative and council relations and assisted with internal management issues, city department initiatives and personnel and administration. She also was the Mayor's point person on emergency management and helped coordinate major improvements in homeland security since September 11, 2001.

Simmons also was the city's liaison to the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the National League of Cities (NLC). She was on the steering committee that planned and oversaw NLC's 2004 Congress of Cities, which was held in Indianapolis in 2004.

She previously served as Peterson's legislative and council relations director, where she was responsible for crafting the city's legislative packages in the City-County Council and the Indiana General Assembly.

Before joining city government, she was executive director of the Casino Association of Indiana and director of legal and government affairs for the Indiana Port Commission. She is a graduate of Ball State University and serves on the boards of Indianapolis Downtown Inc. and the Police Athletic League Club and is a new member of the Marion County Council of Prevent Child Abuse Indiana.

Dillon brings years of public service experience to his role as chief deputy mayor. A veteran of the Gov. Evan Bayh administration, he served in several top leadership roles including commissioner of the Department of Insurance, commissioner of the Indiana Department of Transportation and executive director of the Hoosier Lottery.

After leaving state government, he worked as the chief administrative officer for a local GIS firm and then became chief operating officer of Standard Management Corporation.

He most recently served as an advisor to Mayor Peterson on the Indiana Stadium and convention center expansion project. He also helped oversee the city's acquisition of the Indianapolis Water Company. He also has served as president of the Indianapolis Local Improvement Bond Bank Board since 2000.

Dillon is a graduate of his beloved Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School and DePauw University. He is active as a coach in local Catholic Youth Organization sports and serves on the boards of directors of the Indiana Business Bank, Century Realty Trust, The Hundred Club and the Indiana University School of Medicine Advisory Board.

"The essence of city government is to make sure that 'the trains run on time' every single day," Dillon said. "I'm looking forward to making sure that Indianapolis is the best run city in America and that neighborhoods, schools, businesses and residents alike are receiving the top-quality services they deserve."

In her new role, Amstutz will focus on policy development and strategy for the Mayor's administration.

Amstutz also joined the Mayor's team in January 2000, first as assistant deputy mayor for public affairs handling various policies issues for the city. She however has spent most of her time leading the Mayor's effort to make Indianapolis a cultural destination as administrator for the Indianapolis Cultural Development Commission.

As administrator, she has overseen all aspects of the commission's work, including the Cultural Tourism Initiative, the city's Cultural Districts and the city's aggressive new public art effort. Key commission successes in 2005 included spearheading Indianapolis 2005 and the "Big Red Arrow" advertising campaign and the extremely popular Tom Otterness in Indianapolis public art exhibition.

She also oversaw the city's first regional advertising campaign in more than a decade, which included a $2.8 million integrated marketing campaign to attract cultural tourists from around the country to Indianapolis, and to educate and inform local residents of the city's cultural offerings.

Amstutz is a graduate of the Indiana University School of Law and DePauw University. She formerly practiced law, specializing in insurance defense litigation. She serves on multiple boards and committees, including the White River State Park Commission, Indianapolis Museum of Art Community Affairs Committee, Herron School of Art Dean's Advisory Board, Indianapolis Convention and Visitors Association Board, Indianapolis Branding Initiative, 2006 Men's Final Four Local Organizing Committee, Indianapolis Prize Planning Committee, 2006 FFA Conference Local Organizing Committee, and the Arts Council of Indianapolis Public Art Advisory Committee.

Source: Office of Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson

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