Continuing to round out her staff, Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway on Thursday announced the hiring of Linda Vakunta and Cameron McLay as deputy mayors and Natasha Holmes as an executive assistant.
“I am excited to announce these new employees in the mayor’s office as we continue to build a strong team to support smart, effective government and policy-making in Madison,” Rhodes-Conway said in a statement. “Everyone in my office will focus on collaboration, equity and community engagement, in addition to being assigned to one of my specific priorities including housing, transit and climate resilience.”
Vakunta will serve as a deputy mayor focusing on housing and human services. She most recently worked as a researcher studying the impacts of opioid use among African American women in Madison, and is a founder and executive director of a Wisconsin-based nonprofit called Project 1808.
She has also served as program director for Chicago-based Heartland Alliance International, where she led, developed and designed training programs for government, community and non-governmental organizations to combat human trafficking.
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She holds a doctorate in environmental studies, a master’s degree in rehabilitation psychology and a bachelor’s degree in psychology, all from UW-Madison. She will be paid $105,975 annually and starts Tuesday.
McLay will serve as a deputy mayor focusing on a citywide initiative on improving the effectiveness of city government. He served for many years with the Madison Police Department, where he retired at the rank of captain in 2014, and then as the chief of police in Pittsburgh from 2014 to 2016.
He recently served as a senior adviser for PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Safe Neighborhood Analytics Initiative and as a consultant to the city of Seattle. He has a bachelor’s degree in forensic studies from Indiana University and a master’s degree in organizational leadership from Colorado State University, Global Campus. McLay, who will be half-time, will be paid $55,583 annually and begin June 10.
Holmes has served as a senior administrative operations assistant and senior executive assistant at UW Health, and a digital marketing and social media manager for Max Score Credit in Silver Springs, Maryland. She has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and supply chain management from Howard University. She will start Tuesday.