Mayor Duggan Announces Key Staff Changes

(Stephanie Washington, Trisha Stein, Carrie Jones Grace, Elisa Malile, and Melia Howard)

Mayor Mike Duggan today announced new roles for five key staff members as his administration continues to adapt to meet the needs of the residents and businesses in the City of Detroit.

Longtime legislative policy officer, Stephanie Washington, has been named Mayor Duggan’s new Chief of Staff. Washington will oversee governmental affairs, communications, and media relations and will focus on strategy, coalition building and making sure residents are aware of key administration programs and priorities. Washington has been with the administration since the Mayor took office in January 2014. Most recently, Washington served as Director of Government Affairs and has played a critical role as liaison to elected officials and key stakeholders at the local, state, and federal levels, driving legislative priorities and relationship-building.

Trisha Stein, who has been serving as Chief of Staff since January 2021, has been named Chief Strategy Officer for the City of Detroit. In this newly created role, Stein will facilitate and drive key strategic initiatives including mental health, sustainability, data governance and census. A key architect of DPD’s mental health co-response program, Stein will work closely with the Department on a revamped mental health co-response initiative. Stein also will work to establish greater transparency and accountability of city departments by managing data outputs, reports, and dashboards. Stein has more than 25 years of public policy experience, most recently as Chief of Staff, where she oversaw several key initiatives spanning multiple departments, including spearheading ARPA outreach and communications, and working to ensure all Detroiters are counted by the census bureau.  

Carrie Jones Grace has been named Deputy Chief of Staff. Jones Grace will oversee day-to-day operations of the Mayor’s Office, including scheduling, constituent relations, and Mayor’s Office budget. Jones Grace most recently served as Senior Advisor to Mayor Duggan, where she oversaw the successful expansion of the Project Clean Slate expungement program and the administration’s role in the Detroit Promise Scholarship Program, which is helping thousands of Detroit high school graduates attend college tuition free. Prior to joining the Duggan Administration in 2019, Jones was the Executive Director of the Michigan Venture Capital Association, where she worked with 115 member organizations focused on marketing Michigan’s growing role as a center of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Elisa Malile has been named Chief of External Affairs, another new role in the administration. Malile will be managing all things related to the upcoming NFL Draft, including working with multiple departments to ensure a seamless event. She will also be responsible for strategy, development, planning and execution of external events and management of Mayor’s Office administrative staff. Malile, whose family immigrated to Metro Detroit from Albania in 1995, joined the Duggan Administration in 2018 as Deputy Chief of Staff. During her time in that role, she was responsible for standing up and managing the city’s nationally recognized COVID-19 mass testing and vaccination sites and oversaw the city’s response to the historic flooding of 2021, including working closely with FEMA and the SBA to ensure Detroiters had access to as much funding as possible.

Melia Howard has been named Director of Community Relations, another new role in the administration. Howard will coordinate Mayoral appointees to the city’s many boards and commissions, as well as serve as a liaison to external unions. Howard most recently served as Special Projects Manager, where she served as advisor to Mayor Duggan on large-scale development projects. She will continue this work in her new role. Prior to her work as Special Projects Manager, Melia served as District 5 Manager for the Department of Neighborhoods for more than three years, where she managed community relationships and helped residents with their day-to-day concerns.

These new roles will begin effective Monday, November 21st.

Mayor Duggan praised his team members for their willingness to take on larger, more impactful roles.

“These are all members of our team who have excelled beyond the scope of their current positions and have expressed an eagerness and an ability to contribute at a higher level,” Mayor Duggan said. “I am grateful for the work they and our larger team are doing to fundamentally change the quality of life of Detroiters and expand the opportunities available to them.”

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