Politics & Government

City hires communications assistant for mayor

The city of Charlotte hired a new communications assistant for Mayor Patrick Cannon.

Ashley Simmons, who has been the spokeswoman for the Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools in Nashville, N.C., will start April 22.

The announcement of Simmons’ hiring came Wednesday before news broke about the mayor’s arrest on public corruption charges. Cannon later resigned.

Simmons will join Holly Eskridge as the second city staff member assigned to the mayor. Eskridge’s title is assistant to the mayor, and her job is to help shape policy.

Simmons will make $72,000 annually.

In addition, City Manager Ron Carlee has hired public relations executive Colleen Brannan to assist Cannon with communications. Brannan was hired as a consultant on a 10-month contract for $87,500.

Brannan will also work for the city’s corporate communications office, which has an interim director after Kim McMillan moved to a job in the private sector.

Pat McCrory had one staff member assigned to him during his time as mayor. When Anthony Foxx was elected in 2009, the manager’s office assigned a second staff member to assist the mayor.

Simmons, a native of Statesville, holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications from UNC Chapel Hill and a master’s degree in public administration from UNC Pembroke.