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Mayor Ken Welch announces key staff hires

Three long-time city employees are being elevated to new roles

St. Petersburg, Fla — Mayor Ken Welch announced the elevation of three city employees to new positions, including Robert Gerdes as Assistant City Administrator, James Corbett as Neighborhood Affairs Administrator and Joe Zeoli as Interim City Development Administrator. 

Gerdes formerly served as Neighborhood Affairs Administrator, a position he began in Jan. 2018. He’s been with the city since 2000, serving as an operations manager in the Codes Compliance department from Feb. 2014 through Nov. 2015, and the department’s director from Nov. 2015 through Jan. 2018. Prior to that he held roles in the Planning and Economic Development department, Parks and Recreation and Downtown Enterprise Facilities.

Corbett will replace Gerdes as Neighborhood Affairs Administrator after serving as the Codes Compliance Director since 2018. He’s been with the city since late 2014, including as an operations manager for Codes Compliance and an Operations Analyst. 

As Director of Codes Compliance, Corbett led on various blight reduction programs and initiatives to provide lots for affordable housing. Corbett holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from the University of South Florida and a State of Florida Building Contractors license. 

Zeoli has been with the city for nearly 35 years. He will be the new Interim City Development Administrator, elevated from Managing Director of Administration and Finance. Prior to that he served as a finance manager in City Development Administration from 1987 until 2001. He formerly served as a system auditor for Florida Power, now Duke Energy, a senior accountant with the accounting firm Cherry Bekaert & Holland and a financial analyst at NASA during a college internship.

Zeoli has an undergraduate degree in Accounting and Master of Business Administration from the University of South Florida. He’s a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Public Pension Trustee and a member of the Florida Government Finance Officers Association.

Welch previously announced top staffing hires, including Stephanie Owens as Deputy Mayor and Chief of Policy, Tom Greene as Interim City Administrator, Janelle Irwin Taylor as Communications Director and Doyle Walsh as Senior Advisor. 

Mayor Welch was sworn in Thursday, Jan. 6 as the city’s 54th Mayor.

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