Detroit’s Mayor Mike Duggan Announces New Appointments


DETROIT, MI – Mayor Mike Duggan has announced the appointments of Denise Starr as the new City of Detroit Director of Human Resources and Iris Ware as Chief Learning Officer.    Denise Starr

These key additions to his team underscore the Mayor’s commitment to giving residents the highest level of service possible.




“Human Resources is really the backbone of city government,” the Mayor said.  “Our citizens and employees deserve a first class HR operation that’ll encourage the growth of our workforce and our city as a whole. Denise and Iris have everything it takes to help us reach our goal.”

As the city’s new HR Director, Starr will be charged with streamlining the city’s recruitment and retention processes.  In the past it has taken months to fill critical vacancies in various city service departments.   

Starr joins the City from Compuware where she served most recently as Chief Administrative Officer. Previously, Starr had served as Executive Vice President of HR.  During her career at Compuware, Starr played a lead role in building the company’s workforce.  She also spearheaded Compuware’s move to the city of Detroit.

Starr joined Compuware in 1989, and held positions of increasing responsibility in facilities and administration, including Manager, Director, Senior Vice President and Executive Vice President. She is expected to start full time with the city of Detroit in January after she helps complete critical aspects of Compuware’s transition plan.

“I am thrilled to be joining Mayor Duggan’s team and city government at this critical time in Detroit’s history,” Starr said. “As the city exits bankruptcy, we will need to demonstrate our ability to make city government work for its residents.  We will do that through the talented men and women that make up our city’s workforce.”

Interim HR Director Mike Hall will assist with the transition and lead the city’s labor relations activities.

Iris Ware comes to the City from Detroit Manufacturing Systems, where she led the design, development and implementation of the training function and organizational strategy for the new manufacturing company. This process included the orientation and integration of more than 800 employees within a 12-month period. Ware_I

In the newly-created position of Chief Learning Officer, Ware will report to Starr and be responsible for developing and implementing employee training and organizational development programs.

“One of the most glaring deficiencies in city government has been its lack of training for employees.  Without proper training, employees can’t be expected to deliver consistent quality service,” Mayor Duggan said. “With the addition of Iris Ware to our team, we have someone who will make sure our employees have the skills they need to do their jobs and build fulfilling careers.”

Ms. Ware said she is looking forward to partnering with city employees and identifying the types of training that will help enhance performance across the board.

“Nobody knows better than the employees themselves what they need to do their jobs better,” Ware said.  “My job will be to help identify those needs and develop the training they need to support them. I am very excited that Mayor Duggan has given me the opportunity to serve in this capacity.”

Ms. Ware holds a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University, a master’s degree from Wayne State University, an associate’s degree from Lansing Community College, and is a doctoral candidate at Wayne State University.

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