Map It

Map City Services

Enter an address:
(e.g., 410 S Fifth Street)


Mayor Greg Fischer Newsroom

Mayor Announces Chief of Public Service; Director of Public Works, Director of Emergency Management

Thursday December 6, 2012

Mayor Greg Fischer today announced several new appointments, including Chief of Public Services, Director of Public Works and Assets and Director of Emergency Management Services/MetroSafe.

The appointments are:

  • Doug Hamilton as Chief of Public Services, overseeing Louisville Fire, Emergency Medical Services, Emergency Management Agency/MetroSafe, Public Works and Assets and Codes and Regulations. Hamilton replaces Chief Ish Burks, who recently returned to Jefferson Community and Technical College as a faculty member. Hamilton is a long-time city employee who since 2004 was director of EMA/MetroSafe. He is also a former chief of the Louisville Division of Police (prior to city-county merger) and was United States Marshal for the Western District of Kentucky. He earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of Louisville and starts his new role immediately.

“In the past few years, I’ve had the opportunity to interact with all these agencies and respect their talents, leadership, and desire to serve the needs of our citizens and guests,” Hamilton said. “I’m honored to accept the Mayor’s challenge to focus on results. I appreciate his confidence that together we can build upon the strengths of Louisville Metro public safety and public service agencies to be the best in the country.”

  • Debbie Fox as director of EMA/MetroSafe. Fox is currently deputy director of the agency that is responsible for planning, preparation, mitigation response and recovery to natural or caused disasters. The agency also oversees the 911 and 311 MetroCall networks. Fox began her career in 1982 in the Jefferson County Police Department as a radio dispatcher and she also worked for the Louisville Metro Police Department. Early in the Fischer administration, she was interim director of Metro Animal Services during a transition period. She earned a bachelor’s from Eastern Kentucky University. In 2010, she was the recipient of the International Association of Public Communications’ Director of the Year award. Fox begins her new role immediately.

“I appreciate the opportunity and am honored that the Mayor and his staff are confident in my abilities to serve as the Emergency Management Director,” Fox said. “I am excited about continuing EMA’s mission in providing excellent city services to the community and the public safety responders.”

  • Vanessa Burns as Director of Public Works and Assets. Burns has more than 25 years of public sector experience in public works, transportation, budgets and finance. She is currently a member of the Appropriations Committee staff for the Connecticut General Assembly and is former director of Public Works for cities including the District of Columbia, Evanston, Ill and New Haven, Ct. She earned a bachelor’s in government from American University and master’s from the University of New Haven. She starts in January.

Burns said she’s looking forward to her new role and in getting to know Louisville.

“It has always been my belief that Public Works departments are critical to the vitality and quality of life to a city, regardless of whether you are a garbage tipper or an engineer,” she said. “My expectations are that employees and managers will all work together to continue to maintain internal and external customer service in an efficient and timely manner.”

She continued. “I look forward to the opportunity to work with Mayor Fisher, whose forward-thinking vision for Louisville is something to behold. I have no doubt that the Public Works and Assets team will be successful in the furtherance of the goal of the delivery of exceptional service to Louisville residents.”

Fischer said the appointment of Burns came after a national search for the Public Works job. Burns rose to the top because she has overseen numerous Public Works agencies that ranged from 200 employees to 1,400 and budgets the spanned $10 million to $124 million.

“She knows government, she knows the constraints of working within tight city budgets and she knows public work projects,” Fischer said. “The Public Works department, on a day-to-day basis, touches most citizens because the employees do everything from clearing streets of snow to paving roads. Vanessa will be a dynamic member of my team because she’s about getting things done.”

Fischer also announced that Louisville Metro Police, Metro Corrections, Youth Detention Services and The Criminal Justice Commission will begin reporting to Chief of Staff Ellen Hesen for an interim period. They previously reported to the Chief of Public Safety, which has been renamed the Chief of Public Services.

Fischer said that Hamilton and Fox have been a dynamic team at EMA/MetroSafe. “Doug’s deep knowledge and long experience made him the right candidate for the chief’s job,” Fischer said. “And Debbie’s expertise made her the right candidate to replace Doug. She’s a proven leader and has the respect of her fellow teammates.”

Hamilton has an ability to build high-performance teams and effectively implement a continuous improvement culture, Fischer said, which will be important in the chief role.

Fischer also thanked Bill Schreck, interim director of Public Works and Assets, who came out of retirement to oversee the department during its transition. “He’s an extraordinary citizen,” Fischer said.