Brandon Johnson appoints Chicago Teachers Union leader to transition team

Brandon Johnson appoints Chicago Teachers Union leader to transition team

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson’s cabinet includes staff from the Chicago Teachers Union and Service Employees International Union.

Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson has selected nearly 400 members of his transition team subcommittees, some coming from his major donors and previous employer.

Here’s a look at the key figures.

Chief of staff: Rich Guidice

Guidice first started in City Hall in 2005 under former Mayor Richard M. Daly. He started as managing deputy director of operations in the Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

He then managed OEMC as executive director under former mayors Rahm Emanuel and Lori Lightfoot.

Transition director: Jessica Angus 

Jessica Angus will take point on Johnson’s transition. She has worked at the Service Employees International Union as vice president and chief of staff since 2008.

Through multiple committees, SEIU donated more than $4 million to Johnson’s campaign for mayor.

Deputy mayor of education, youth and human services: Jennifer Johnson

Jennifer Johnson, former chief of staff for the Chicago Teachers Union, will serve as deputy mayor of education, youth and human services.

CTU was Mayor Johnson’s last employer and a major donor to his campaign. CTU put nearly $2.3 million and scores of union foot soldiers behind Johnson.

Deputy mayor of community safety: Garien Gatewood

Garien Gatewood will serve as the city’s first-ever deputy mayor for community safety. Gatewood was appointed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker to the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, the group that advocated for Illinois eliminating cash bail, known as the “SAFE-T Act”.

Deputy mayor of business and neighborhood development: Kenya Merritt 

Kenya Merritt will spearhead business development. Merritt previously worked as a program officer for the Pritzker Traubert Foundation as well as Chicago’s Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Office.

Chief financial officer: Jill Jaworski

Jill Jaworski comes from PFM financial advisors, where she’s worked since 2010 as managing director. Her biggest clients included Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Transit Authority.

Deputy chief of staff: Cristina Pacione-Zayas

State Sen. Cristina Pacione-Zayas, D–Chicago, will assist Guidice as deputy chief of staff. She will be tapped with vetting candidates for Chicago’s new school board and CPS leadership. Pacione-Zayas worked in CPS as a “Culture of Calm Coordinator” before being appointed to the Illinois State Board of Education by Pritzker.

Johnson has asked nearly all appointees from the Lightfoot Administration to stay on for at least three months.

Want more? Get stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.

Thank you, we'll keep you informed!