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City hires Petula Burks as leader of Public Information and Engagement office

The city has hired Petula Burks to lead the Office of Public Information and Engagement (PIE), a new communications and community engagement office founded by Mayor Stoney in 2021.

The office’s founding mission is to connect communities with city government through accessible public information, meaningful engagement, and compelling storytelling. The hiring of Ms. Burks is a significant step toward ensuring PIE is a lasting, useful, and change-making force within the City of Richmond government.

Ms. Burks brings two decades of public information and management experience to the new office. She has served as the Director of the Center of Public Affairs for the Washington State Department of Health, the Director of Public Relations and Communications for the Greater Sacramento Economic Council, and Director of Civic Engagement and Chief of Staff to Mayor Oliver Gilbert at City of Miami Gardens, Florida. Most recently, she served as Chief of Staff to Augusta-Richmond County Mayor Hardle Davis, Jr.

The Office of Public Information and Engagement is part of the Department of Citizen Service and Response. Said Department Director Peter Breil: “I couldn’t be more excited to have Petula on the City of Richmond team. She brings a wealth of experience that will be incredibly valuable as we establish the Office of Public Information and Engagement, enabling us to communicate more accessibly, equitably and frequently both publicly and internally.”

“When communications and engagement marry, it is truly the beginning of something powerful for communities; when the communications and engagement are intentional, the outcomes empower communities,” said Ms. Burks. “The launch of the Office of Public Information and Engagement in the City of Richmond is a marriage made in heaven and looks to cultivate a city built on transparency, commitment to listening, and activation around a shared mission and vision. I am excited to join this team and help promote purposeful communication and engagement with our internal and external partners and the community at large.”

Ms. Burks begins her employment with the city on January 4, 2022. She leads a team of four dedicated employees.