Newly elected Mayor John Dailey recently introduced his office staff. Dailey tweeted last week :
“We’ve already hit the ground running but I wanted to take a second to introduce my team: Thomas Whitley (Chief of Staff), Cathy Branch (Dir. of Internal Affairs), & Courtney Thomas (Dir. of External Affairs). I’m excited to have them by my side as we serve our great city. “
During the campaign for Tallahassee mayor, there was a lot of discussion about staffing in the mayor’s office. Former Mayor Andrew Gillum was criticized for a bloated staff.
Tallahassee Reports plans on comparing expenditures between the two offices when the information becomes available.
Here’s some biographical information for each of the new hires as provided by Dailey’s office.
Thomas Whitley serves as Chief of Staff to Mayor John Dailey. In this role he manages the Office of the Mayor staff and budget and assists the Mayor with in-depth policy research and development. He previously served as then-Commissioner Dailey’s Aide at the Leon County Board of County Commissioners. Prior to entering the world of politics he was in academia where he earned two masters degrees and a PhD (FSU ’16) in religion. After completing his doctorate, he worked in the graduate school at Florida State University as the Assistant Director of the Office of Graduate Fellowships and Awards. He is a published author and serves locally on the boards of The Village Square and Justice850. After initially coming to Tallahassee to attend FSU, he and his wife, Trinity, fell in love with this community and chose it as the place they wanted to raise their family; they are expecting their first child in March.
Catherine Branch is Director of Internal Affairs in the Mayor’s Office. In this role, she serves as the administrative manager for the Mayor’s office. She is from Tallahassee and a graduate of Florida State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science. During her over 30-year career she gained experience with a broad knowledge of Florida government as well as municipal government. While a Senior at Florida State she was given an opportunity to intern for Congressman Al Lawson in his former role as a State Representative which led to her career in public service. She gained experience with the Florida legislative process while working for members of the Florida Senate. She has been with the City of Tallahassee since 2005 having worked for former City Commissioners Allan Katz and Gil Ziffer.
Courtney Thomas is the Director of External Affairs in the Mayor’s Office. In this role she oversees community and constituent relations for the office. She is a proud native of Tallahassee, Florida and graduate of Tallahassee Community College and a two-time graduate of Florida State University with a bachelor degree in Political Science and Masters in Applied American Politics and Policy. Courtney has had the opportunity to work on not only one, but two winning Congressional races here in Florida. She worked as a field organizer on the Gwen Graham for Congress campaign and as the political director on the Al Lawson for Congress campaign. After working on the Graham campaign, Courtney worked as a staff assistant and constituent services representative in her Tallahassee office and after the Lawson campaign she worked as a constituent services representative in his Tallahassee Office. In 2015, through the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, she had the opportunity to intern for Congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson in Washington, D.C.