Mayor's Staff

Abby Arnold, deputy chief of staff

Ms. Arnold serves in a co-management team with the chief of staff, directly overseeing the departments of public service, public utilities, and information and communication technology. Ms. Arnold was appointed by Mayor D. Michael Collins in June, 2014 as the commissioner of utilities administration in the public utilities department. Prior to that appointment, Ms. Arnold served as the chief of staff and director of real estate in the Lucas County Auditor’s office. Ms. Arnold received a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Cincinnati in 2003, and a Master of Public Administration from Kent State University in 2016. Ms. Arnold played a key role in the implementation of the nationally-recognized Engage Toledo program.

Karen Poore, deputy chief of staff and safety director

Ms. Poore serves in a co-management team with the chief of staff, directly overseeing the departments of police, fire, neighborhood and business development, human resources, and the planning commission. Ms. Poore is a 25-year public serviceveteran with key management and communications expertise. Ms. Poore previously served as the chief deputy treasurer for the Lucas County Treasurer’s office, managing complex tax accounting, treasury, and delinquent collection systems in support of the $500 million county budget with a staff of 23 employees. Ms. Poore also previously worked for Toledo City Council and the Lucas County Board of Elections.

Gretchen DeBacker, legislative director

Ms. DeBacker works with the mayor and policy advisors to spearhead the effort to enact the policy goals of the administration. She researches, coordinates, and facilitates the implementation of new policies and programs. Ms. DeBacker was an attorney in private practice for 14 years. For many years, she served in leadership positions with the various organizations who are working to help the Toledo community. Ms. DeBacker is well known for her work on non-profit boards, developing mentorship programs, and serving as a volunteer for a wide variety of arts and community organizations.

Ignazio Messina, communications director

Mr. Messina coordinates the city's internal and external communications, social media strategy, and work with the media. He is a native of New York but has lived in Toledo the past 16 years. Mr. Messina received a bachelors of science in journalism from St. John's University and was hired by The Blade in 1998. In 2000, he moved back to New York and worked as a senior editor covering programming for Cablevision Magazine and as a freelance journalist. In 2003, he rejoined The Blade and was assigned to cover education and later city hall. He lives in West Toledo and has a 11-year-old daughter.