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Mississippi city’s CAO to join National League of Cities

January 16, 2021 GMT

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba’s chief administrative officer is leaving for a new post with the National League of Cities.

The National League of Cities’ Institute for Youth, Education, and Families says Dr. Robert Blaine will be joining the agency as its newest senior executive effective Feb. 1, WLBT-TV reported.

Blaine is one of the few remaining members of Lumumba’s initial team, which included Public Works Director Robert Miller and Planning and Development Director Mukesh Kumar.

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“I am proud to join NLC and lead the YEF Institute, which has recently celebrated 20 years of collaboration with city officials to improve outcomes for our nation’s children, youth and families,” Blaine said in a statement. “I look forward to the work ahead in ensuring that our organization remains a driving force in empowering local leaders to act on behalf of all residents.”

Blaine joined the Lumumba administration in 2017, after previously serving as dean of undergraduate studies and cyberlearning at Jackson State University. He has been instrumental in numerous city initiatives, including leading negotiations in the city’s contract talks with the ZoOceanarium Group to take over management of the Jackson Zoological Park in 2019. A contract has yet to be approved by the Jackson City Council.

He also has been a key figure in helping Jackson build what he calls a “dignity economy,” and sort through its myriad of water billing issues.

Lumumba was not immediately available for comment.