Richmond Mayor Tom Butt announces new chief of staff

Richmond Mayor Tom Butt announces new chief of staff
Vernon Whitmore (Photo courtesy of Mayor Tom Butt's E-Forum)

By Kathy Chouteau

Richmond Mayor Tom Butt has a new chief of staff. Outgoing Chief of Staff Christopher Whitmore has accepted a position as executive director of Richmond Promise—the community-wide college success initiative that looks to create a college graduating culture in the city—and will be replaced by none other than his own father, Vernon Whitmore, according to Mayor Butt’s e-forum.

A stalwart of the Richmond community, the elder Whitmore comes to the mayor’s office from Whitmore Majors Government affairs, a business he founded in 2016, per the e-forum. He currently serves as the longtime president of the active Santa Fe Neighborhood Council and as the former chair and current board member at the Richmond Chamber of Commerce. He is also the former chair of the board of the Richmond Community Foundation.

According to Mayor Butt, Whitmore is “a retired journalist and public affairs consultant who has worked with and for the City of Richmond in various capacities for three decades.”

Prior to his role at Whitmore Majors Government affairs, he served as the principal of Richmond-based WM Consultants and Globe Media Solutions. Other past roles include working as a local media executive as the founder/publisher of the Globe Newspaper Group; as the general manager/editor of the Post Newspapers, which included African-American and Spanish language newspapers; as publisher of the Richmond Press newspaper for the City of Richmond; and other notable media outlets.

During his career as a newspaperman, Whitmore was elected president of the West Coast Black Publishers Association, a trade association representing 32 newspapers throughout California, Nevada, Washington, Oregon, Arizona and Colorado.

While Whitmore has resided in Richmond’s Santa Fe neighborhood for many years, he is a native of St. Louis, Missouri. He went on to earn a B.A. Degree in Education/Business Administration from Harris Stowe State University and also served the country in Viet Nam, as did Mayor Butt. Whitmore was Honorably Discharged from the U.S. Army, where he had achieved the rank of Sergeant E-5. 

As for Vernon’s son Christopher, he replaces outgoing Richmond Promise executive director Jessie Stewart, who has accepted a new position with the UC Berkeley athletic program, according to Mayor Butt’s e-forum. “He did a great job and we will miss him,” said Mayor Butt.