Former Sun reporter to head O'Malley communications team

July 17, 2002|By Johnathon E. Briggs | Johnathon E. Briggs,SUN STAFF

A former Sun reporter has been picked to head Mayor Martin O'Malley's communications department, replacing Stephen J. Kearney, who left the position last month to become spokesman for the Archdiocese of Baltimore.

Gerard Shields, a newspaper reporter for the past 17 years, becomes director of communications for O'Malley at a time when the mayor has recommitted himself to the city after entertaining a run for governor earlier this year.

"I see this as a great opportunity to work with a young team that is trying to make an American city the best it can possibly be," Shields, 41, said yesterday. "The fact that [O'Malley] has recommitted himself was a big part of my decision."

He said that he'll miss "running around and chasing down stories," but described his $80,000-a-year position as a "once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."

The Philadelphia native joined The Sun in 1998 as a City Hall reporter and covered O'Malley's last days as councilman and his first year as mayor. A 1983 graduate of Pennsylvania State University's School of Journalism, Shields covered city and county politics for The Morning Call in Allentown, Pa., and the Orlando Sentinel in Orlando, Fla.

Shields, who lives in Catonsville with his wife, C-SPAN producer Annie Tin, begins his new post July 31.

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