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Riley Center Fellows

Former Mayor Joseph P. Riley, Jr.

Joe Riley served over ten terms as Mayor of the City of Charleston, from 1975-2016.  He graduated from the Citadel in 1964 and USC Law in 1967, and then served in the S.C. House of Representatives from 1968 to 1974.  In his time as Mayor, Charleston transformed from a decaying urban center to a top cultural destination.  He is known for his revolutionary redevelopment projects, which he carefully crafted to add to the overall quality of life in the city.  He diffused racial tensions by working closely with the African-American community, and appointing the city's first black police chief, Reuben Greenberg.  The crisis leadership that he demonstrated after Hurricane Hugo in 1989 gained national praise, with many admiring him getting the city quickly cleaned up and running.  He has developed a robust tourism economy for the city, in addition to securing the renowned Spoleto Art Festival.  

Riley is currently working on a plan to build the International Museum of African-American History, a $75 million project scheduled to open in 2018.  He has returned to the Citadel as a professor of American Government and Public Policy, and currently is a valued fellow for The Riley Center.  

William E. Tomes

Bill Tomes is a Fellow at the Joseph P. Riley Jr. Center for Livable Communities at the College of Charleston and is the former Director of Governmental Research and Service at the Institute for Public Service and Policy Research at USC. Through his consulting firm, Bill works with public and non-profit organizations throughout South Carolina.

Bill has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a master’s degree in Human Resources.  Over the past 30 years, Bill has worked as an organizational development consultant specializing in both the private and public sectors in the United States and Canada.  He has conducted training programs and written book chapters and articles on various human resource and governance topics.  Bill currently serves on the faculty of the Local Government Leadership Institute, the Non-Profit Leadership Institute at Francis Marion University, and the Institute of Government for County Officials.

Jon Pierce

Jon holds a Ph.D. in Political Science with a concentration in public administration from the University of Tennessee and Master of Arts and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Political Science from Appalachian State University.  He has worked with state, local and non-profit agencies across the Southeast for over 35 years as a university-based facilitator, consultant and trainer. Dr. Pierce has assisted a large number of organizations in the design and conduct of strategic planning and goal-setting efforts.  He has facilitated in excess of 700 sessions with the policy boards of governmental, non-profit, and community organizations. Dr. Pierce is recognized as an authority on state and local government in South Carolina.

Dr. Pierce retired from full-time service with the University of South Carolina in July 2009.  He retired as the Director of Governmental Services for the University of South Carolina’s Institute for Public Service and Policy Research.  He held the faculty rank of Research Associate Professor and taught in the joint MPA programs at USC, Clemson, and the College of Charleston. Upon his retirement he was granted the title of Senior Fellow with the Institute.  In 2015 he was granted status as a Fellow with The Riley Center for Livable Communities at the College of Charleston.

Prior to joining the faculty of the Institute for Public Service & Policy Research in 1986, he served as Director of the Governmental Services Institute and the Office of Professional Development and Community Education of Northern Kentucky University and as Executive Director of the Appalachian Regional Bureau of Government at Appalachian State University.

Bob O'Neill
Bob O'Neill joined Davenport & Company in 2017 as Senior Vice President of Public Finance, working with local governments on issues of finance and strategic leadership and management.  He is also serving as adjunct professor in the Center for Regional Excellence at Old Dominion University and has been named a Riley Fellow for the Joseph P. Riley Jr. Center for Livable Communities, College of Charleston, whose mission is to leverage the intellectual resources of the college in support of the economic and cultural vibrancy of communities throughout South Carolina and the world.

He is the former executive director of ICMA (International City/County Management Association), which advances professional local government worldwide, a position he held since December 2002.  Before coming to ICMA, Mr. O’Neill served as president of the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA). From May through September of 2001, he was on temporary assignment at the Office of Management and Budget as counselor to the director and deputy director on management issues.

Mr. O’Neill served as Fairfax County executive from 1997 to 2000, where he is credited with developing a series of strategies aimed at revitalizing older residential communities and commercial areas within Fairfax County as well as launching a series of initiatives focused on performance and results management.  His “reinvention” of the government of Hampton, Virginia, as city manager from 1984 to 1997, was widely recognized; his many accomplishments included a downtown and waterfront revitalization initiative and development of a nationally recognized youth-at-risk program.

Mr. O’Neill has been the recipient of the Maxwell School of Syracuse University’s Spirit of Public Service award and the National Public Service Award presented by the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) and the American Society for Public Administration. He is a NAPA fellow and faculty member of the University of Virginia’s Senior Executive Institute and Leading, Educating and Developing programs.  He earned his BS in political science from Old Dominion University and his master’s in public administration from the Maxwell School of Citizenship & Public Administration, Syracuse University. He also completed the Executive Program at Colgate Darden School of Business, University of Virginia, and received an honorary doctorate of laws from Old Dominion University.