City's Risk Manager to Retire; New Director Named

Communications Director

Eric Vreeland
evreeland@knoxvilletn.gov
(865) 215-3480

400 Main St., Room 654A
Knoxville, TN 37902

  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on Twitter
  • Share via Email
News item

City's Risk Manager to Retire; New Director Named

Posted: 06/08/2017
Gary Eastes, who for 14 years has led the City of Knoxville’s Risk Management office, will be retiring next month.

Mayor Madeline Rogero announced today that Employee Benefits Manager Christine Fitzgerald will be promoted to succeed Eastes, who had hired her in October 2011.

Fitzgerald will become the City’s new Director of Employee Benefits and Risk Management, subject to City Council’s approval of the combined duties. She will oversee a staff of 12 employees in the Risk Management and Employee Benefits units and will report to Christi Branscom, Deputy to the Mayor and the City’s Chief Operating Officer.

“Gary has been an innovator, and he has served the City with distinction,” Mayor Rogero said. “Just five years ago, he was honored as the Public Risk Manager of the Year by the Public Risk Management Association, a national organization with more than 2,000 governmental entities as members. That’s just one in a string of awards that the City has received in recognition of sound policies and practices under Gary.”

In 2012, the City received the Theodore Roosevelt Workers' Compensation and Disability Management Nonprofit Award from Risk and Insurance magazine. The previous year, the City received the Champion Award for Excellence in Workers' Compensation Risk Management from National Underwriter magazine. 

Eastes won the Public Risk Manager of the Year award in large part due to his efforts to improve the City’s medical and health plans and contain their costs.

Eastes previously worked for the City of Oak Ridge and TVA.

 “I consider Gary to be a mentor,” Fitzgerald said. “When Risk Management and Employee Benefits previously were combined, Gary really had a vision for modernizing and improving employee benefits. 

“In my nearly six years with the City, we’ve continued those improvements – by expanding incentives and programs to promote wellness, for example. Our Health and Wellness Center at the new Public Works Service Center is a great asset in assisting employees seeking healthier lifestyles – or helping an employee needing quick medical attention for a job-related injury.

“I’m looking forward to continuing to help City workers in a new, expanded role.”

Fitzgerald graduated with a bachelor’s degree in finance from the University of Tennessee. She and her husband Mike, a UT staff attorney, enjoy live Americana music, traveling, and camping with their two dogs.