- Courtney Lamdin ©️ Seven Days
- Mayor Miro Weinberger (left) and Kimberly Carson
Carson, who is moving to Burlington from Iowa, was one of 15 applicants for the position. The Burlington City Council will vote on Carson's appointment on Monday. If confirmed, she'd start the following day, November 8.
"Leading a department with such a broad and critical mandate is a major challenge," Weinberger said on Thursday during a press conference at city hall, adding that Carson "possesses the skills, education, training, work experience and values to succeed in this key leadership role."
Carson has worked for the Iowa Judicial Branch for the last 12 years. For the last three, she served as the judiciary's director of education and human capital development, which tasked her with planning diversity and equity trainings for more than 2,000 employees.
She previously coached track and field at DePaul University in Chicago and for the U.S. Olympic team. A track star herself, Carson is a hall of fame athlete at her alma mater, Louisiana State University, and competed in the 1996 Olympic trials.
Carson would fill a post that's been vacant since March, when the department's first-ever director, Tyeastia Green, resigned. Green never spoke publicly about her decision to leave, but close friends of hers told Seven Days at the time that Green hadn't felt supported in her work in Burlington.
Soon after Green stepped down, three of four managers in her department called it quits. Green now runs the office of Racial Equity, Inclusion & Belonging in her home city of Minneapolis.
As director, Carson will lead efforts to create a culturally competent workforce, address racial disparities in health outcomes and introduce an initiative to increase homeownership among Black residents. The department is also in charge of producing the city's annual Juneteenth celebration.
Carson will have a chance to build her own team. Budgeted for 14 people, the office currently has just five staffers. That includes Phet Keomanyvanh, an economic equity analyst in the department who has served as acting director for the last eight months.
"I'm at the point in my career where I can really choose where I want to be and what I want to do, and I chose Burlington," she said, noting that her two children will be moving with her.
"We're here to stay," she said.
Two other department head posts remain vacant: city attorney and fire chief. Former city attorney Dan Richardson left in May after being tapped as a Vermont Superior Court judge, and former fire chief Steven Locke left in June to run the South Burlington department. Both positions are posted on the city website.
Correction, November 3, 2022: A previous version of this story said there were six applicants for the position, per city officials. Later Thursday, officials said that number was actually 15.