Mayor Rogero Names Brace as Chief Operating Officer, Ely as Parks and Recreation Director

Communications Director

Kristin Farley
(865) 215-2589

400 Main St., Room 691
Knoxville, TN 37902

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Mayor Rogero Names Brace as Chief Operating Officer, Ely as Parks and Recreation Director

Posted: 09/26/2017
Mayor Madeline Rogero today announced several new staff appointments to fill upcoming vacancies.

David Brace, who has served as the City’s Senior Director of Public Works for the past two years, will become Chief Operating Officer and Deputy to the Mayor. He replaces Christi Branscom, who has served in that role since 2013 and announced in July that she will be departing the City at the end of September.

Sheryl Ely will become the new Director of Parks and Recreation for the City on Sept. 26, with the pending retirement of longtime Director Joe Walsh. For the past two years, Ely has been the City’s Deputy Director of Public Service.

“David and Sheryl are already invaluable members of my team, and their hard work and great collaborative leadership will serve all of us well in their new positions,” Mayor Rogero said. “We have a lot of major projects under way, so it’s great to have such experienced and dedicated people ready to step up and take the reins.”

Brace said, “It has been a privilege to work for Mayor Rogero and Christi Branscom for the last five and a half years. We’ve made great progress in modernizing our operations, and I’m looking forward to helping build on the momentum we’re seeing all across Knoxville.”

Brace has been with the City of Knoxville for 15 years, beginning in the Community Development Department before moving to Public Service, where he became Director in 2011. Since 2015, he has overseen all of the City’s Public Works departments: Public Service, Parks and Recreation, Engineering, Plans Review and Inspections, and Fleet Services.

As COO, he will continue to have broad oversight over those departments as well as Finance, Purchasing, Information Systems, Employee Benefits and other departments. He will have assistance from Chip Barry, who as Deputy Chief of Operations will oversee the City’s 311 service, real estate operations, and the public assembly facilities managed under contract by SMG (the Knoxville Convention Center, the Civic Auditorium and Coliseum, and Chilhowee Park), as well as other general support for operations. 

Mayor Rogero also announced two other changes. Rachel Butzler, the City’s Solid Waste Manager, will be promoted to Deputy Director of Public Service to fill Ely’s position. And Nicholas Bradshaw, who has been serving as interim Deputy Director of Fleet Services, will assume that role on a permanent basis.


David BraceDavid Brace has an undergraduate degree in human ecology (community health) and a Master’s degree in planning, both from the University of Tennessee.  He started working for the City of Knoxville in 2002 in Community Development before moving to Public Service in 2004. After serving as Deputy Director, he was appointed Public Service Director by Mayor Rogero in 2011. Prior to joining the City of Knoxville, Brace was a firefighter/EMT in Knox County for Rural Metro Corp. and worked as a consultant in the industrial rescue and safety field. He is married to Gina Knapp Brace. They have three children and live in the Island Home neighborhood.

Sheryl ElySheryl Ely, a native of Charlotte, N.C., holds an undergraduate degree in community health from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and a Master’s degree in planning from the University of Tennessee. Her work experience includes nine years with the State of Tennessee’s Local Planning Assistance Office as a planner, including six years as the Regional Director. Ely also worked for the Knox County Health Department as a Public Health Educator, before joining the City of Oak Ridge as a Senior Planner. She became the City of Knoxville’s Deputy Director of Public Service in 2015. She is married to Wendell Ely, and they have two children.

Chip BarryChip Barry worked for 20 years locally and throughout the Southeast with social service providers, serving the last seven of those years as Director of Operations for a regional healthcare management company. He was an active board member of the Colonial Village Neighborhood Association in South Knoxville for 10 years and was a founding organizer and member of the South Knoxville Neighborhood and Business Coalition. He has been the City’s Operations Project Manager for the last six years, and he also serves as the LGBT Liaison to Mayor Madeline Rogero. He is a licensed Realtor and has been actively involved with the management of real estate projects at the City. He has bachelor degrees in psychology and business administration from UT Knoxville. Barry is married to Travis Pyle, and they live in Holston Hills.

Rachel ButzlerRachel Butzler has been the Solid Waste Manager for the City of Knoxville Public Service Department since 2016. She has managed the implementation of both the new solid waste and recycling contract and yard waste processing contract collectively saving the City more than $1.5 million annually. Butzler began her career with the City in 2011 in the Engineering Department Stormwater Division. Prior to that she held a number of positions in local, state, and federal government. She has a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Resource Management from Pennsylvania State University, and a Master of Science in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences from Texas A&M University.

Nicholas BradshawNicholas Bradshaw has been serving as Acting Deputy Director of the Fleet Services Department for the City of Knoxville. The Fleet Services Department maintains the City’s fleet of more than 1,400 vehicles and equipment used by employees. Bradshaw began his career with the City in 2009 and has held positions including Administrative Technician, Human Resource Analyst, and Public Service Department Planning and Safety Coordinator before joining the Fleet Services Department in May 2017. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) from The University of Tennessee - Knoxville and a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Human Resource Management from Bryan College. He is married to Amanda Wade Bradshaw, a Teacher at Loudon Elementary School. They have two children, Hannah and Emma.