Ari Dubow/Sun File Photo

City Hall on March 16, 2020.

December 2, 2022

Mayor Laura Lewis Appoints New Chief of Staff

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Mayor-elect Laura Lewis appointed Deb Mohlenhoff as the next Chief of Staff for the City of Ithaca on Friday, a former Alderperson for the Fifth Ward on Common Council for 12 years. She also served as Acting Mayor in 2014 under Mayor Svante Myrick ’09.

“I am thrilled to be returning to local government as the City’s Chief of Staff,” Mohlenhoff said. “The time I spent as a member of Common Council gave me an incredible appreciation for the hard-working city staff and in this role, I will be able to support their needs as well as design more ways for local citizens to be engaged with city government.”

Mohlenhoff also stated that she is excited to lay the groundwork for the new form of government structure voted for in the city manager referendum earlier this month, which she recommended during her tenure on the Common Council. This referendum permits Common Council to appoint a city manager whose role is to provide management across department heads and assist in budget development.

As a resident of Ithaca for over 30 years, Mohlenhoff graduated from Ithaca College with a bachelor’s degree in Communications in 1992 and completed a master’s degree in Public Administration from Binghamton University in 2005. She was inducted into Phi Alpha Alpha, the national Public Administrator’s Honor Society, and completed her degree with a 4.0 grade point average.

“I am thrilled to be inviting Deb back to City Hall where her familiarity with city staff and operations will be incredibly valuable as I begin my term as the elected Mayor of the City,” Mayor Lewis said in a press statement. “Her professional background and expertise will help city staff advance a range of initiatives.”

During her three consecutive terms on Common Council, Mohlenhoff established and chaired the City of Ithaca’s Government Performance and Accountability committee in addition to serving as the chair of the City Administration committee and chair of the City Budget Process. 

Mohlenhoff has also worked in higher education at both Ithaca College and Tompkins Cortland Community College, most recently serving as the Associate Vice President of College Relations for TC3. She has served in leadership roles on many local boards and is currently the co-chair for the United Way of Tompkins County Campaign and chair of the Games Operating Committee for the Special Olympics State Summer Games.

Mohlenhoff graduated from the Leadership Tompkins Program in 2003 and has won a “40 Under 40 Award” from the Chamber of Commerce, in addition to being named one of the “20 Outstanding Women You Should Know” in Tompkins County. She was also honored with Binghamton University’s Distinguished Alumni award in 2014.

Mohlenhoff will begin as Chief of Staff on Jan. 9, 2023.