Philadelphia’s new managing director, Camille Cates Barnett, is expected to begin work after mourning the death of her husband, though city officials are not clear on when her start date will be.

Barnett’s husband, James Barnett, died in a car crash early this month as he traveled to Philadelphia from Washington, D.C. Barnett was tending to her husband’s wake on Jan. 7 and did not attend Mayor Michael Nutter’s inauguration and swearing-in ceremony. Nutter and top members of his administration attended the funeral, which was held the next day.

While Barnett has not yet returned to Philadelphia, her office has been providing her with documents and getting her up to speed on what’s happening in the city, according to her special assistant Eryn Santamoore. “She was eager to get started before the tragedy struck, and I’m sure she’ll be just as eager when she returns,” Santamoore said.

Her duties will include overseeing 13 operating departments of the city, and ensuring that city services and programs are delivered effectively and efficiently

Barnett has 24 years of experience in city management. She has worked for the cities of Dallas, Houston, Austin, Sunnyvale, California and Washington, D.C. In early 1998, she joined the District of Columbia Financial Responsibility and Management Assistance Authority as its chief management officer, a position she held for a little over a year.

Before taking the job as Philadelphia’s managing director in mid-December, she worked as a top official at Philadelphia-based Public Financial Management in its Washington office. At PFM she worked with New Orleans to help the city develop better operational financial practices.

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