Rawlings-Blake chief of staff resigns
Sophie Dagenais, a former corporate lawyer who has served as Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake's chief of staff for the past year, will resign effective March 21.
"It was always our plan, the mayor's and mine, that I come here for a finite period time," Dagenais said in an interview. "My work is done."
Dagenais, who worked for the Ballard Spahr law firm before joining Rawlings-Blake's administration, said she had not yet lined up her next position. She said she had always planned to leave after a year, although city officials left out that detail when they trumpeted her arrival last year.
Dagenais said she was leaving to allow a permanent chief of staff to be chosen.
Prior to joining the Rawlings-Blake administration, Dagenais had been part of a development team that crafted a proposal to build a new arena. That plan was later shelved and city officials are currently contemplating building a combined arena and convention center.
Dagenais was a low-key presence in the Rawlings-Blake administration. In one of her first public appearance last year, council members vented about a lack of transparency Rawlings-Blake's budget plans.
Former deputy chief of staff Kim Washington, who served as chief of staff when Rawlings-Blake was City Council president, has had a more prominent role in the administration, leading negotiations with council members, business leaders and union heads.
Dagenais said she focused on reorganizing the mayor's office and filling key vacancies. A permanent health commissioner, chief service officer and chief information officer joined the administration under her leadership, she said. She also hired Thomasina Hiers to head the office of human services. Hiers, a former high-ranking official with the stateDepartment of Public Safety and Correctional Services, also took on the duties of deputy chief of staff last month.
Hiers replaced Washington as deputy chief of staff. Washington is now the senior advisor for government and community affairs and is lobbying on the city's behalf in Annapolis during the General Assembly session.
Washington, and First Deputy Mayor Kaliope Parthemos, are childhood friends of Rawlings-Blake who have been her top advisors since she was council president.