Slay appoints first female chief of staff in St. Louis -

Slay appoints first female chief of staff in St. Louis

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By Daniel Fredman By Daniel Fredman

ST. LOUIS ( – St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay announced who will replace Jeff Rainford as the chief of staff in February.  

Mary Ellen Ponder will replace Rainford, becoming the first female chief of staff in the City’s history.

Ponder has previously served as director of operations, deputy chief of staff and director of intergovernmental affairs.

“Mary Ellen has in-depth experience working with – and garnering the respect of – the many different constituencies that make up our City.  She’s a seasoned policy and decision maker.  She is tough when she needs to be.  She is also fair,” Slay said in a press release.

Rainford is the longest-serving chief of staff in the history of St. Louis. He joined the Slay administration in 2001.

“It has been thrilling, maddening, and challenging,” Rainford said in a press release. “But, I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.  It has been an absolute privilege to serve Mayor Slay and the people of St. Louis.  I am very grateful for the opportunity.”

Rainford plans to return to the private sector on Feb. 6.

Other notable changes coming to the mayor’s office include Todd Waelterman, formerly the director of streets, taking on the title of director of operations and Patrick R. Brown, currently the director of intergovernmental relations, becoming the deputy chief of staff. 

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