The Houston Chronicle reports that Chris Newport, the director of the regulatory department at City Hall, will become Mayor Annise Parker’s newest Mayoral Chief of Staff. Newport will replace Waynette Chan, a longtime Parker veteran who retires next week. Meanwhile, Harry Hayes –the Solid Waste Department Director– will become the Chief Operating Officer of the city while continuing, for the time being, in his current capacity. The COO post was freshly minted following the announcement of Chan’s impending retirement; simply put, they had to divvy up her responsibilities into two offices.
Mike Morris, who wrote the aforementioned Chronicle article, compiled a short biography on Newport, who will only be Parker’s second Chief of Staff while Mayor. Newport is a navy veteran and has an origin around these parts. While the Chronicle article notes Newport’s recent experience with both the Animal Shelter and the 311 question system, I frankly think his biggest impact upon the political zeitgeist in recent months has been his vociferous contributions to the debate over Uber and Lyft. Since this issue predominantly revolves around updates to the City’s taxi regulations, the Chief Regulator has been at the forefront of the debate.