Mayor-elect Kenney Appoints Christine Knapp New Leader of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability

Christine Knapp will head the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability during the Jim F. Kenney mayoral administration.

Knapp has been a leader in Philadelphia’s sustainability community for over a decade; She led PennFuture’s Next Great City Campaign, headed Philadelphia’s Urban Sustainability Forum, and most recently served as Deputy Chief of Staff and Director of Government Affairs at the Philadelphia Water Department.

“I’m honored and excited to be chosen by Mayor-Elect Kenney to serve as the Director of the Office of Sustainability in his administration,” Knapp tells Grid. “The office, under the leadership of Katherine Gajewski, has done a tremendous job over the last eight years, and I look forward to building on that work to ensure all Philadelphians can thrive in a healthy, sustainable city.”

Earlier in her career, Knapp worked on air pollution issues that resulted from the South Philadelphia Sunoco Refinery, won the Florence Neilson award for her work on the board of the Recycling Alliance of Philadelphia, and won the Special Recognition Award from PhilaPOSH for her work building alliances between the environmental and labor movements. She is also active at the community level in her own South Philadelphia neighborhood with the Passyunk Square Civic Association.

The appointment immediately drew praise from the Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania, Penn Environment and Clean Water Action, among other advocacy groups. In Kenney’s announcement today, he stated that Knapp will “build a stronger bridge between the advocates who fight every day for Philadelphia's natural resources” and the city government.

Outgoing director Katherine Gajewski, who is leaving the office voluntarily, is also pleased with the appointment. “I’ve had the opportunity to work with Christine in a variety of capacities over the years,” Gajewski says in an e-mail statement to Grid. “With her blend of advocacy and government experience, I can’t think of a better successor to lead the next phase of the city’s sustainability agenda. She’ll join a strong team at the Office of Sustainability and benefit from the partnership of an extensive stakeholder network within and beyond government. I’m encouraged by Mayor-elect Kenney’s continued commitment to sustainability and can’t wait to see where the work goes next.”

Transition meetings between the two appointees have already begun, and although a specific date has not yet been set, Knapp will start her new post in early January of 2016.