Mayor-elect Johnson Names Rich Guidice as Chief of Staff, Dr. Cristina Pacione-Zayas as First Deputy Chief of Staff

Johnson selects two dedicated, experienced public servants with a track record of delivering for Chicago.

CHICAGO – Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson today named Rich Guidice as his incoming Chief of Staff and Dr. Cristina Pacione-Zayas as his incoming First Deputy Chief of Staff. 

Guidice, who most recently served as Executive Director of Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications, and Pacione-Zayas, who currently serves as Illinois State Senator for the 20th District, both bring years of experience in delivering for the people of Chicago. 

“It’s going to take all of us to build a better, stronger, safer Chicago, and I know the people of Chicago will be served well by Rich Guidice as my Chief of Staff and Dr. Cristina Pacione-Zayas as my Deputy Chief of Staff,” said Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson. “Both Rich and Cristina have shown dedication to making Chicago work for all of Chicago, and I know they will lead these positions with a sense of collaboration, compassion, and competence.” 

“It’s an honor to join the incoming Johnson administration and help deliver a stronger and safer Chicago for all,” said Rich Guidice, incoming Chief of Staff. “Together, we will build a government that addresses the challenges ahead, delivers on the promise of a better city, and unites all Chicagoans around our common goals.” 

Rich Guidice, incoming Chief of Staff.

“I am excited to join Mayor-Elect Johnson’s City Hall and help lead a team dedicated to lifting-up working people, strengthening our public schools, and fostering safer communities,” said Dr. Cristina Pacione-Zayas, incoming First Deputy Chief of Staff. “We are building a team that will deliver for the people of Chicago, and I look forward to our work together.” 

Rich Guidice, Chief of Staff, is a seasoned public servant and emergency operations professional with decades of experience working on behalf of Chicagoans. Guidice most recently served as head of the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications, where since 2019 he oversaw the city’s emergency response, 911 call center, and traffic management system, playing a pivotal role in coordinating crisis response efforts and enhancing public safety infrastructure across city agencies. His tenure as head of the agency drew widespread praise for its innovative, technology-driven approach. Before that, he helped create the city’s Traffic Management Authority and oversaw planning and coordination for large-scale events like the 2008 inauguration of President Barack Obama. Born and raised on the northwest side of Chicago, Guidice currently lives in the Schorsch Village neighborhood.

Dr. Cristina Pacione-Zayas, First Deputy Chief of Staff, is a distinguished education and policy advocate widely recognized for her efforts to promote educational equity and advance social justice through her service in community-based and policy organizations, Chicago Public Schools, and as board secretary of the Illinois State Board of Education. Formerly as the Associate Vice President of Policy at the Erikson Institute, she played a crucial role in shaping early childhood policy and advocating for children, families, communities. Dr. Pacione-Zayas is credited with establishing Erikson’s Early Childhood Leadership Academy and Community Data Lab—two statewide initiatives that have helped Illinois leaders and lawmakers understand the importance of investing in children’s early years and their overall well-being and development. Since December 2020, Dr. Pacione-Zayas has served as a State Senator representing the 20th District leading education, housing and public safety policy initiatives. Born and raised in Chicago, Dr. Pacione-Zayas earned her doctorate in Educational Policy Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

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