Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson appoints 1st Latina chief of staff

Dr. Cristina Pacione-Zayas has background in public service, policy development and advocacy, mayor's office said

ByABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Tuesday, April 2, 2024
Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson appoints 1st Latina chief of staff
Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson appointed Cristina Pacione-Zayas after Rich Guidice's retirement. She is the first Latina chief of staff.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson announced his new chief of staff Tuesday, after longtime city employee Rich Guidice's retirement.

Johnson appointed Dr. Cristina Pacione-Zayas as the first Latina chief of staff to the mayor.

Pacione-Zayas was born and raised in Chicago, with a background in public service, policy development and advocacy, the mayor's office said in a news release.

She begins Tuesday, after serving as the first deputy chief of staff.

"Cristina's unparalleled dedication to our city, her depth of knowledge on critical issues affecting our neighborhoods like housing, community safety and education, and her proven track record of leadership make her the ideal person to serve as my next chief of staff," Johnson said in a statement. "I am confident that together, we will continue to make strides toward a better, stronger, safer Chicago."

Pacione-Zayas served on several committees in the state Senate and worked with other state boards, councils and commissions prior to this position, the mayor's office said.

"I am deeply honored to serve as Chief of Staff for Mayor Brandon Johnson and the City of Chicago," Pacione-Zayas said in a statement. "This role presents a unique opportunity to advance our collective vision for a city determined to deliver equity and opportunity for all, and I am committed to leveraging every resource and partnership to make this vision a reality."

Guidice previously served as the head of the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communication before becoming Mayor Johnson's chief of staff.

In a statement, the mayor said, "For more than three decades, Rich Guidice has admirably served the City of Chicago, earning tremendous respect under four mayors and across multiple City departments. From West Side roots and the halls of Gordon Tech High School, to leadership through some of Chicago's most remarkable major events, Rich has long been a steady and guiding force, and a mentor to many.

"To come out of retirement to serve in my administration is a testament to his belief in our work and our vision for the City of Chicago, and for that, I am grateful.

"Our administration is better because of the time he spent as my chief of staff, and I wish him good health, good fortune, and the absolute best in a hard-earned and very well-deserved retirement."

Guidice's final day was Monday.

The video in the player above is from an earlier report.