After Ben Zahn is sworn in as Kenner's mayor on Thursday night, his top aides will be two former high-ranking members of ex-Jefferson Parish President John Young's administration.
Zahn on Thursday confirmed that his chief administrative officer will be Deborah Cunningham Foshee, who served as parish attorney under Young before he left office early last year.
Zahn also said his deputy CAO will be Kriss Fairbairn Fortunato, a former WDSU-TV journalist who was once Young's public information officer.
Jefferson Parish Councilman Ben Zahn will be the next mayor of Kenner after easily defeating…
Foshee will replace longtime Kenner CAO Michael Quigley, who Zahn said was weighing an offer to continue working for the city in a different capacity.
Fortunato will replace Maria Leon, who has accepted a position in Jefferson Parish President Mike Yenni's administration.
Zahn said he grew to trust both Foshee and Fortunato during the five years he spent representing Jefferson Parish Council District 4. He resigned his council seat hours before he was sworn in as Kenner mayor, the post to which voters elected him last month.
One of Zahn's campaign promises was to use relationships he developed during his time on the Parish Council to help bring more parish, state and even federal resources back to Kenner, and he said the professional experience both Foshee and Fortunato have accumulated will help him keep that vow.
Besides serving as parish attorney, as well as a stint as Covington's city attorney, Foshee has spent the last year or so as a New Orleans-based member of state Attorney General Jeff Landry's staff.
Before her time in Young's administration, Fortunato for years handled communications for the FBI's New Orleans office. She spent part of last year directing communications for Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser.
She had developed close ties to Nungesser when she worked as a public information officer for the company in charge of responding to the 2010 BP oil spill on behalf of Plaquemines Parish. Nungesser was the parish president at the time.
"They bring knowledge from three levels of government back here — parish, state and federal," Zahn said. "I think Kenner will benefit from that."
Foshee said she was excited about the prospect of working for the residents of Louisiana's sixth-largest city.
Fortunato said public service is a family tradition. Her husband is a longtime Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office spokesman; her son is a Sheriff's Office patrol deputy; and her father was a Marine.
Her responsibilities will include overseeing Kenner's government access channel, as well as Parks and Recreation, Community Development and other departments, she said.
Zahn's inauguration Thursday is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. at Chateau Country Club. He was elected to serve out the remainder of a term expiring in 2018 that was left vacant when Yenni stepped down as mayor to become parish president early last year.
Kenner City Councilman Mike Sigur has been acting mayor since Yenni's departure.