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Kenney announces more staff picks including communications director

Mayor-elect Jim Kenney named three more administrative appointments Tuesday including digital director, which is a newly created position, and communications director.

Mayor-elect Jim Kenney, who in his days as a city councilman was known for his off-the-cuff and sometimes controversial comments, on Tuesday announced two appointments to the team charged with managing his communications.

Lauren Hitt, Kenney's current spokeswoman, will serve as communications director. In a press release she sent out, Hitt said that before joining Kenney's campaign she worked as the press secretary for the Democratic nominee in the 2014 Ohio gubernatorial race and as a deputy communications director on Mayor Bill de Blasio's election campaign in New York City.

Stephanie Waters will serve as digital director, a newly created position tasked with ensuring the city better utilizes technology in how it interacts with Philadelphians. That includes managing the city's social media accounts while also working closely with the office of innovation and technology, Hitt said.

Waters most recently held the same title on Kenney's campaign staff. She previously served as digital director for the gubernatorial campaigns of Martha Coakley in Massachusetts and Barbara Buono in New Jersey.

Kenney on Tuesday also named Jeff Guaracino as President and CEO of Welcome America Inc., the non-profit that has been the official producer of the city's July 4 celebration. Kenney said the nonprofit will expand its focus to produce, support and attract citywide events year-round.

Guaracino is the executive director of the Atlantic City Alliance, a non-profit that markets Atlantic City. He previously worked for 10 years at the Greater Philadelphia Tourism Marketing Corporation, which is now known as VISIT Philadelphia.

Hitt said she expects about a dozen more appointments will be announced before Kenney's inauguration Monday. She said about 10 others will be announced after the inauguration, including three positions Kenney announced last week that he is conducting a national search for: prisons commissioner, fire commissioner and director of human services.

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