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City of Ithaca News

Posted on: December 2, 2022

Mayor Lewis Appoints Deb Mohlenhoff as Next Chief of Staff


Mayor Lewis Appoints Deb Mohlenhoff as Next Chief of Staff

Acting Mayor Laura Lewis has appointed Deb Mohlenhoff as the next Chief of Staff for the City of Ithaca. Mohlenhoff brings a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and leadership skills to the position from her years of experience as both a leader in higher education and her 12 years of service to the city as an Alderperson for the 5th Ward.  

Deb has lived in Ithaca for over 30 years, since graduating from Ithaca College with a bachelor’s degree in Communications in 1992. Deb also 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 GPA. 

"I am thrilled to be returning to local government as the City's Chief of Staff," stated Mohlenhoff. "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. I am also excited to lay the groundwork for the new form of government voted in through referendum in November. This city is such a special place, and I am honored to have been chosen by Mayor Lewis to do this work." 

In her 3 consecutive terms on Common Council, Mohlenhoff established and chaired the City of Ithaca’s Government Performance and Accountability committee. She also served as the Chair of the City Administration committee and chair of the City Budget Process. She led the working groups that brought both a change in City Commissions structure and a recommendation for a City Manager to referendum. In January of 2014, she was also designated the Acting Mayor of Ithaca by Mayor Svante Myrick.  

She has worked in higher education at both Ithaca College and Tompkins Cortland Community College. She most recently served as the Associate Vice President of College Relations for TC3. She has also served in leadership roles on many local boards. She 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.  

She is an '03 graduate of the Leadership Tompkins Program and has won a “40 Under 40 Award” from the Chamber of Commerce as well as 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. 

“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." Stated Mayor Lewis, "Her professional background and expertise will help city staff advance a range of initiatives. In addition, with the passage of the referendum for City Manager, we will need someone to assist the city with the transition to a new form of government. Deb’s experience with complex organizational management will be crucial as the city enters this new era.” 

Deb Mohlenhoff will begin as Chief of Staff for the City of Ithaca on January 9, 2023.

Inquires can be directed to the mayor's office:

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