May 21, 2019

Mayor Lightfoot Announces Key Senior Staff Positions

New leadership in the Mayor’s Office and departments to further administration’s top priorities in the first 100 days

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

CHICAGO—Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today announced several key staff who will serve in leadership positions in her administration.

“We are hitting the ground running with a talented team of public servants ready to serve every Chicagoan,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “I look forward to working with these experienced professionals to ensure a responsive, transparent government that creates equity, opportunity and growth for every neighborhood in our city.”

The following appointments were made today:

Samantha Fields, Senior Advisor for Legislative Counsel and Government Affairs (LCGA) - Samantha will oversee and advise on the Mayor’s legislative agenda at the local, state and federal levels for the early months of the Lightfoot administration. Samantha has a history of building initiatives to enhance government departments to run more efficiently and transparently. Samantha previously served in a number of positions at the state and local level, including as First Deputy Director of LCGA. She received a law degree from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, and an undergraduate degree from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia.

Samir Mayekar, Deputy Mayor for Neighborhood & Economic Development - Samir Mayekar brings the team significant experience from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors. Samir previously served in the Obama administration in the White House and at a federal infrastructure finance agency. As co-founder and CEO of NanoGraf Corporation, Samir built a green energy company that continues to grow in Bronzeville. Fluent in Spanish, Samir has deep neighborhood roots in Chicago, having served as board chair for a community-engaged youth theater in Albany Park and a GRAMMY-winning music ensemble serving the Back of the Yards. He holds a B.A. and M.B.A. from Northwestern University where he serves as a trustee.

Marisa Novara, Commissioner of Housing - Marisa brings 15 plus years of experience leading community-based affordable housing development and spearheading policies to bridge communities, business and academia. While Vice President at the Metropolitan Planning Council (MPC), she advanced the first argument with evidence in the United States of what racial and economic segregation costs a region, and led the subsequent creation of the region's first comprehensive guide to a more racially equitable future. Prior to MPC, Marisa directed affordable rental and for-sale housing development in the North Lawndale community, where she lived and worked for over a decade. She received a master’s degree in urban planning from the Instituto Politecnico di Milano in Milan, Italy, and a master’s degree from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration. The Mayor will introduce Marisa’s appointment as Commissioner of Housing at the next City Council meeting.

Manuel Perez, Managing Deputy Director of Legislative Counsel and Governmental Affairs (LCGA) - Manuel (Manny) will lead the day-to-day work of implementing the administration’s legislative agenda across all areas, with a particular focus on Springfield as the current session comes to a close. Manny was the campaign manager for the Mayor-elect’s runoff election and served as the Intergovernmental Affairs Director for the transition. He has led a variety of campaigns at the local, state, and federal level, including Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García’s successful run for Congress in 2018. In Cook County government, Manuel has served as Special Assistant to the President of the County Board, Chief of Staff to the County Clerk, and Chief of Staff to then-Commissioner Garcia. He graduated from Princeton University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and resides in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago.

Tiffany Sostrin, Deputy Director of Legislative Counsel and Governmental Affairs (LCGA) - Tiffany will oversee Council relations and advocate for legislation on behalf of the Mayor’s Office. She most recently worked as the Chief Legislative liaison for the Department of Finance, where for the past year she executed the department’s intergovernmental relations strategy by developing strong relationships with City Council and other government leaders at the state and local level. Tiffany also served as an attorney for the Council’s Legislative Reference Bureau, led by Alderman Margaret Laurino, where she provided legal services to Aldermanic staff and offices and prepared legislation for Aldermen. Prior to her career with the City of Chicago, Tiffany spent several years as a management consultant for IBM, served U.S. District Judge Sharon Johnson Coleman and interned for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation. Tiffany has a B.S. in public policy and government affairs from Indiana University Bloomington and a J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

Mayor Lightfoot convened her administration’s first cabinet meeting today and named the following individuals to lead city departments:

Alison Arwady, Chicago Department of Public Health - First Deputy Commissioner Dr. Alison Arwady will serve as Acting Commissioner of the Department effective June 18th when Dr. Julie Morita leaves city service to join the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The new administration will conduct a national search for Dr. Morita’s replacement.

Thomas R. Carney, Chicago Department of Transportation - First Deputy Commissioner Thomas Carney will serve as Acting Commissioner as a search is conducted to replace the former Commissioner Rebekah Scheinfeld, who left city service on May 20th.

Andrea Telli, Chicago Public Library - In June the Mayor will ask the Chicago Public Library Board of Directors to confirm Andrea Telli, the current Deputy Commissioner for Public Services, to serve as the permanent Commissioner. Andrea has led library operations for CPL’s 81 branch locations since 2011, including one of the most significant periods of capital improvement in CPL’s history. She will be replacing outgoing commissioner Brian Bannon.

Eleanor Gorski, Department of Planning and Development - Eleanor Gorski, Deputy Commissioner of Planning, Historic Preservation and Sustainability, has been appointed Acting Commissioner as the new administration conducts a search. Eleanor replaces outgoing Commissioner David Reifman, whose last official day with the City of Chicago was May 20th.

Mayor Lightfoot also announced the following agency department heads will remain in their current positions:

Eddie Johnson, Chicago Police Department Superintendent

Janice Jackson, Chicago Public Schools CEO

Juan Salgado, City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor

Dorval Carter, Chicago Transit Authority President

Michael Kelly, Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO

Eugene Jones, Chicago Housing Authority CEO

The Lightfoot administration will continue to make announcements of key initiatives to further its top priorities of good government, neighborhood development and public safety during the first 100 days in office.