Incoming Department of Transportation Director Steve Sharkey (left) and Department of General Services Director Chichi Nyagah-Nash. Photos via mayor’s office/DGS.
Incoming Department of Transportation Director Steve Sharkey (left) and Department of General Services Director Chichi Nyagah-Nash. Photos via mayor’s office/DGS.

Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young has shuffled the top ranks of the Department of General Services, naming its head, Steve Sharkey, as the next director of the city’s Department of Transportation and promoting his deputy to take over DGS.

Sources at City Hall told Baltimore Fishbowl last week Sharkey’s hire was expected. One city employee mentioned DOT staffers had already been briefed on the pending appointment, which must still go before the Baltimore City Council’s Executive Appointments Committee.

Sharkey began working for the city as an intern at CitiStat in 2005, eventually rising through the ranks to become deputy director. He’s worn other hats in local bureaucracy over the last 14 years, working also for the Baltimore Police Department as director of special projects, the Department of Public Works as chief of special services and property management and, for the last seven years, DGS’ director.

Young nodded to Sharkey’s “extensive and tested experience” in city government in a statement, saying he “knows our City intimately and has established a long career working across agencies to increase positive outcomes.”

He’ll take over for Frank Murphy, who’s been acting director since Michelle Pourciau resigned in April. A Pugh administration hire who previously worked in D.C., Pourciau left days after The Sun reported Baltimore’s inspector general was investigating morale and operations within the agency, and amid an assortment of OIG reports from investigations of wage theft and other misconduct by DOT employees.

Councilman Ryan Dorsey (3rd District), who’s publicly called for more accountability and commitment to cycling and other multimodal infrastructure from DOT, celebrated Sharkey’s hire.

“Steve has demonstrated great leadership at DGS, particularly in allowing others to lead with their own expertise,” he said in a statement. “I look forward to DOT benefiting from the same, as well as Steve’s data-driven approach to outcomes and strong systems of accountability.”

Chichi Nyagah-Nash, presently deputy director of the agency that manages Baltimore’s fleet of vehicles, city-owned buildings, capital projects and more, will move up to become director of DGS. Nyagah-Nash joined the department in 2012 after serving as a senior program administrator for Illinois-based food distribution giant U.S. Foods. A release from Young’s office said while there, she administered a company-wide ethics hotline and investigated allegations of theft and fraud.

She served for six years as Sharkey’s deputy, overseeing purchasing and maintenance for the city’s fleet and managing the agency’s budget.

She’s bounced around city government since last summer, leaving DGS in August 2018 to become director of special projects for the Department of Housing and Community Development, moving again to the Department of Human Resources to serve as assistant deputy director, and then recently returning as deputy director to Sharkey.

Sharkey said in his own statement today that Nyagah-Nash “has been a real star at DGS and made my job as Director infinitely easier,” and that he’s “extremely excited and very proud that she will be succeeding me.”

Mayor’s office spokesman James Bentley said in an email Monday that both Sharkey’s and Nyagah-Nash’s Executive Appointments Committee hearings “will likely be late July/early-to-mid August.”

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Ethan McLeod

Ethan McLeod is a freelance reporter in Baltimore. He previously worked as an editor for the Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Fishbowl. His work has appeared in Bloomberg CityLab, Next City and...