Stephanie Benfield to join Reed’s administration

A former state legislator known for her work on environmental issues is joining Mayor Kasim Reed’s administration.

Stephanie Stuckey Benfield, who spent 14 years as a state representative and more recently as the executive director of GreenLaw, is the new director of Atlanta’s Office of Sustainability.

Former sustainability director Denise Quarles is leaving for the private sector, according to a spokeswoman for Reed’s office.

Benfield, who has known Reed since both were freshman lawmakers, said the mayor’s goal is clear.

“When we sat down, he said he wants Atlanta to be one of the top 10 sustainable cities in America,” she said.

Benfield said she plans to focus on existing initiatives underway at City Hall, including expanding park space, launching a bike share program, improving the city’s recycling program and pushing for even more energy-efficient building improvements.

And she believes her experience at the state legislature, as well as working with environmental organizations, will serve her well in the role.

“What I think I will definitely carry over from my environmental advocacy experience are the legal skills that you need to really understand sometimes complicated ordinances, and be able to translate them into real life work,” she said.

Benfield begins in mid-May. She will earn a $140,000 salary in her new role.

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