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CHICAGO – The Chicago City Council today voted to confirm Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot’s nomination of Matthew W. Beaudet to serve as Commissioner of the City’s Department of Buildings (DOB). Beaudet, who served as Acting Commissioner for the Department following Judy Frydland’s retirement earlier this year, will become Chicago’s first-ever Native American to serve as a City Commissioner, according to City historians.
“Matthew W. Beaudet brings decades of experience, leadership and vision towards ensuring Chicago’s buildings, homes and workspaces remain the safest in the nation through increased accountability, sustainability and more cost-effective construction,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “This city was built on world-renowned architecture and urban design, and through these historic appointments, we are truly building on that legacy and laying the bricks for a foundation of new business, investment and development in every neighborhood.”
Since 2011, Beaudet has served as DOB’s First Deputy Commissioner, managing the day-to-day operations of the nation’s third-largest local buildings department. In this role, Beaudet has modernized the City’s building code and led a number of process innovations over the years to increase productivity and accountability at every level of the Department.
As First Deputy, Beaudet has overseen some of Chicago’s largest special and innovative projects in the city, including the $251 million construction of the Malcolm X College campus. He also streamlined the permit and inspection process for Chicago’s smallest businesses, effectively reducing the overall time to obtain commercial and residential building permits by 25%. In addition to his work at DOB, Beaudet has served in a wide range of leadership roles in state and local government over the past 20 years, including First Deputy Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health and Assistant Director of the Illinois Department of Central Management Services.
Outside of his roles in City government, Beaudet serves as the Legal Counsel and on the Council of Elders for the Montaukett Tribe of Indians in Long Island, New York, providing pro bono counsel to his Tribe on legal and governance matters since 2001. He also volunteers at Chicago Public Schools and serves on the Lane Tech Local School Council.
“I am deeply honored to be appointed by Mayor Lightfoot, and approved by City Council, to lead this City’s buildings department and join this collective effort to help build a stronger Chicago for all neighborhoods,” said Beaudet. “Over the past several years, this Department has prided itself not only on our efforts to make it more cost-effective to build in Chicago and easier for neighborhood businesses, big and small, to obtain building permits but also ensuring we adhere to the highest level of safety standards and protections, and we look forward to doing more.”
Marlene Hopkins has also been promoted to First Deputy for DOB. As Managing Deputy Commissioner since 2007, Hopkins has been responsible for managing and directing Mayoral Initiatives and projects initiated by the Commissioner. From ensuring buildings provided heat during Chicago’s 2019 polar vortex to working with the Chicago Police Department (CPD) to remove dangerous and vacant buildings from communities across the city, Hopkins has dedicated her career to building safer and stronger neighborhoods. With more than 22 years of experience working in government, Hopkins will now serve as the City’s First Deputy Commissioner under Beaudet.
“Since day one, our efforts have been focused on ensuring all buildings in this City, but especially those in underinvested neighborhoods and those with vulnerable populations, are adhering to our safety guidelines so Chicagoans can stay safe at home,” said DOB First Deputy Commissioner Marlene Hopkins. “For more than a decade, I’ve been proud to not only call the Department of Buildings my home but also be a part of a team of colleagues that has helped create a safer Chicago. It’s an absolute privilege to continue these efforts as the First Deputy of the Department and I want to extend my appreciation to Mayor Lightfoot for this opportunity.”
As DOB’s Managing Deputy Commissioner, Hopkins led collaborative partnerships with not only CPD but several departments and agencies across the city. Working with the Office of Emergency Management & Communications, Chicago Fire Department, and Department of Family & Support Service in an all-hands-on-deck effort to address emergencies in Chicago’s communities, Hopkins worked to ensure buildings adhered to the fire safety guidelines, and vulnerable populations across had safe shelter during the winter months. Additionally, Hopkins managed the Department’s annual operating and maintenance budget over the past several years.