Mayor Kenney Announces Michael DiBerardinis’ Retirement from City Government; Appoints Brian Abernathy as City’s Managing Director

PHILADELPHIA – Mayor Kenney today accepted the resignation of the City of Philadelphia’s Managing Director Michael DiBerardinis and announced the appointment of Brian Abernathy, currently Deputy Managing Director, to succeed DiBerardinis.

DiBerardinis assumed this role for the City on January 4, 2016. As Managing Director, he oversees and coordinates essential services and policy priorities across most major operating departments of the government including five cabinets: Community and Culture; Community Services; Health and Human Services; Public Safety; and Transportation and Infrastructure.

Prior to the current administration, DiBerardinis served as Deputy Mayor for Environmental and Community Resources and Commissioner of the Department of Parks and Recreation. His long history of public administration also includes serving as recreation commissioner to the City of Philadelphia from 1992 to 2000, and as Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources under Governor Ed Rendell.

DiBerardinis’ resignation date is effective January 6, 2019. DiBerardinis will be joining the University of Pennsylvania School of Arts and Sciences in January 2019 as a Professor of Practice at the Fels Institute of Government.

“’Mike D.’ – as he is affectionately known – is a public servant in the truest sense of the words. I cannot thank him enough for being an integral part of my team the last few years,” said Mayor Kenney. “His experience and leadership have helped to successfully restore a strong managing director system to the government which will serve the City well in the future. I wish him nothing but the best and believe the students at Fels will benefit greatly from his wisdom and expertise.”

Reflecting on his time with the City, DiBerardinis said, “Serving the City of Philadelphia been a great privilege. I’ve been fortunate to be a part of terrific initiatives like overseeing the merger of the Fairmount Park Commission and Department of Recreation, working with communities to transform public space in Philadelphia, conceiving and launching Rebuild, advancing an Out of School Time Strategy to meet the educational aims of the School District, and launching the City’s first comprehensive Workforce Development Strategy that I believe will have a lasting, positive impact on our communities.”

He added, “It has been a special honor to serve Mayor Kenney who has shown courage and commitment to equity and opportunity for all Philadelphians. I look forward to the next chapter, but I will truly miss the many colleagues I’ve been fortunate to work with. Among them is Brian Abernathy who is uniquely qualified and well-positioned to succeed me. Brian has been by my side through all the challenges and triumphs over the last few years, and I know that he will achieve great things in this role.”

The Mayor has named Deputy Managing Director Brian Abernathy as DiBerardinis’ successor.  Abernathy was appointed First Deputy Managing Director in January 2016.  In this role, Abernathy implements the policies and programs set forth by the Managing Director and Mayor.  He has worked closely with the Police Department in its reform efforts, with the Fire Department in its efforts to reinvest and restructure, and with the Department of Prisons in its efforts to reduce its population.  He oversees several major initiatives including Rebuilding Community Infrastructure (Rebuild), the City’s civic infrastructure project that will invest hundreds of millions of dollars in our parks, libraries and recreation centers, and co-chairs the Shared Public Spaces working group, which examines homelessness and public behavior.

“I’m thrilled to announce that Brian Abernathy will become our City’s next Managing Director,” said Mayor Kenney. “Brian is a natural leader with vast operations experience that many members of our administration – including myself – have come to depend on. He’s been instrumental in leading interagency initiatives and has played a key role in advancing some of the biggest priorities and policies of this administration. I have the utmost confidence in his abilities to be successful in this new role.”

Abernathy added, “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to become Managing Director. Governing a city the size of Philadelphia is complex and challenging.  I look forward to the chance to better coordinate our efforts, improve services, collaborate with civic leaders, community groups, business, nonprofits and philanthropy, and tackle some of the City’s most pressing issues.”

Prior to his appointment, Abernathy was the Executive Director of the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, where he was responsible for the Gallery Mall development, the completion of the Eastwick Urban Renewal Area, the close-out of the Neighborhood Transformation Initiative and dozens of neighborhood development and affordable housing projects. Mr. Abernathy has served in various other roles in government, including Chief of Staff in the Managing Director’s Office and as an aide to Councilman Frank DiCicco.

In 2014, Abernathy was named one of the Urban Land Institute’s 40 Under 40. He serves on the Board of the Arden Theatre Company and the Mt. Moriah Cemetery Preservation Corporation. Abernathy graduated from Coker College in Hartsville, SC with a degree in Political Science and Theatre.

Brian Abernathy’s headshot is available upon request.