* * * * *
Mayor-elect Jean Stothert's transition team includes two widely known Republicans, but the city councilwoman isn't ready yet to name her Cabinet.
Stothert and Mayor Jim Suttle met privately Monday at City Hall and made a brief public appearance to discuss the transition to a new mayoral administration. They also toured Stothert's new wood-paneled office, now bare of the trinkets and memorabilia Suttle decorated the space with during his term.
Stothert said David Kramer — an attorney and a former chairman of the Nebraska Republican Party — would direct her transition team.
Brinker Harding, a commercial real estate broker who served as campaign manager and chief of staff to former Mayor Hal Daub, also attended Monday's meeting.
Harding's name has surfaced as one of Stothert's potential selections to serve as her chief of staff. Rod Edwards, an official in Stothert's successful election bid, will also serve on the transition team.
Stothert, a Republican, wouldn't say which, if any, of the men could play a role in her administration. The mayor-elect also said she wouldn't identify her administration's department directors until after her June 10 inauguration, though she said her chief of staff could be named before then.
“We're going to be taking applications and resumes and making sure that the mayor's staff and our staff is the best that we can possibly provide for the city,” Stothert said. “So we have a lot of work to do in the next couple weeks.”
It's too early to tell how much money Stothert's directors will make. Her published campaign platform, though, says “many department directors have been overpaid the last three years,” and she promised to cut director salaries along with the Mayor's Office budget.
Stothert captured 57 percent of the vote in last week's election.
Suttle and Stothert's team met for about an hour to discuss office space and a fast-approaching July deadline for Stothert to prepare the city's 2014 budget.
“The biggest challenge facing my administration, as well as Mayor-elect Stothert's, will be managing the 2013 budget and preparing for the 2014 budget,” Suttle said. He added that his team would continue its budgeting process through this month before turning over documents to the mayor-elect.
“It takes some time and energy to do this,” he said.
Stothert will likely use some office space on City Hall's third floor before her inauguration and move into her permanent office.
Stothert said she probably won't make any decorating changes. A large banner in the press room — which reads “Real Solutions, Mayor Jim Suttle” — won't last.
“Eventually, that one might have to be changed,” Stothert said.
Contact the writer: