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James E. Baker Biography
James E. Baker was appointed Chesapeake City Manager on January 14, 2013. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry from the University of Missouri and a law degree from Washington University in St. Louis. He has also completed an intensive training course for Senior Executives in State and Local Government conducted by the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.
Mr. Baker started his public service career in 1979 as an assistant prosecuting attorney for St. Louis County, Missouri. In the course of his eleven years as a prosecutor, he tried cases ranging from traffic offenses to capital murder, supervised many of the office staff and was ultimately named Deputy Chief Trial Attorney. In 1991, Mr. Baker was named the Director of Administration for St. Louis County Government and, shortly thereafter, was also designated as the Chief of Staff to the County Executive. Under these titles, he served as St. Louis County’s chief operating officer for sixteen years until he became eligible for early retirement in 2007. Since July of 2007, Mr. Baker served as the County Manager for York County, South Carolina, a rapidly growing county with a population of approximately 237,000 residents immediately adjacent to Charlotte, North Carolina.
During his thirty-plus year career in the public sector, Mr. Baker has had the opportunity to oversee a number of initiatives, including the design of a light rail mass transit system expansion, voter approval for a bond issue and the subsequent construction of a 1,200 bed, high-rise jail and justice center, a public-private partnership leading to construction of a new baseball stadium for the St. Louis Cardinals, management of local capital improvement sales tax programs in both St. Louis and York counties for road improvements, the institution of multi-year budgeting, long-term budget forecasting and a planned initiative to upgrade county credit ratings.