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Pritzker announces more appointments, including communications, legislative affairs, CMS, HFS directors

Thursday, Jan 10, 2019

* Press release…

Governor-elect JB Pritzker and Lieutenant Governor-elect Juliana Stratton are continuing to build a strong team to lead the state. Today, the governor-elect and lieutenant governor-elect made the following personnel announcements for their incoming administration:

Emily Bittner will serve as Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications in the Office of the Governor. Bittner currently serves as Chief of Strategy for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, a role she began in 2017 after serving for three years at Chicago Public Schools, where she led the district’s communications and strategic efforts during the push for historic education funding reform. Bittner served as an adviser for Mayor Emanuel’s 2015 re-election campaign. Bittner previously led communications strategy serving as the chief spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, and the Democratic Governors Association. She began her career as a reporter at The Arizona Republic covering public safety. Bittner is a graduate of Northwestern University, where she earned degrees in journalism and political science.

Jordan Abudayyeh will serve as Press Secretary in the Office of the Governor. Abudayyeh currently serves as press secretary of the transition and served the same role on Pritzker’s gubernatorial campaign. She joined the campaign after nearly 6 years in broadcast journalism. Abudayyeh previously was a political reporter for Springfield’s ABC affiliate WICS-TV, an anchor and producer for Naperville’s NCTV17, and an associate producer for Milwaukee’s WISN-TV. She received her Bachelor of Arts in broadcast and electronic communication from Marquette University.

Tiffany Newbern-Johnson will serve as Deputy Chief of Staff for Legislative Affairs in the Office of the Governor. Newbern-Johnson currently leads Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s state legislative agenda as the Deputy Director of Legislative Counsel and Government Affairs. She previously served as assistant counsel to House Speaker Michael Madigan in the Technical Review Unit and was an attorney in the City of Chicago Law Department’s Buildings and License Division. Newbern-Johnson received her Juris Doctor from the University of Detroit Mercy School of Law and her Bachelor of Arts in criminology, law, and justice from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Alicia Tate-Nadeau will serve as Director of Homeland Security and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA).* Tate-Nadeau currently serves as the executive director of the Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications where she oversees an over $291 million budget and 2,100 personnel. She previously served as the Assistant Adjutant General - Army in the Illinois National Guard and led a 12-person rapid response force for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. While serving as the FEMA Region V incident management assistant team lead, Tate-Nadeau was deployed to the Flint, Michigan, water crisis to serve as the deputy federal coordinating officer. Prior, Tate-Nadeau served over 32 years in the National Guard, becoming the first female General Officer in Illinois National Guard history. In 2005, she was deployed to Iraq with a Multinational Division serving as an information operations officer. Tate-Nadeau’s awards include the Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Combat Action Badge, Polish Bronze Star and numerous other awards. She received her Master of Strategic Studies in Military and Strategic Leadership from the US Army War College, Master of Health Administration from Governors State University, and Bachelor of Science in Health Services/Allied Health/Health Sciences from University of Central Oklahoma.

Janel L. Forde will serve as Director of the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS).* Forde currently serves as the chief operating officer of the City of Chicago after serving the same role at the Illinois State Board of Education. Previously, she served as a deputy commissioner of the Chicago Department of Fleet and Facility Management and as the director in the Office of the CEO at Chicago Public Schools. Forde was also a consultant at the Boston Consulting Group, a marketing manager at American Express, and a junior consultant at Roland Berger Strategy Consultants. She received her MBA from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Theresa Eagleson will serve as Director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services (HFS).* Eagleson currently serves as the executive director of the Office of Medicaid Innovation at the University of Illinois system, joining in 2014 after spending over a decade in management at HFS. She served as the state Medicaid director, deputy administrator of the Division of Medical Programs, and senior adviser to the administrator during her 15-year tenure. Prior, Eagleson served two Republican governors’ administrations, leading the Medical & Child Welfare Division of the governor’s budget office and serving as Gov. Edgar’s policy adviser for health and human services and as senior budget analyst. A Mattoon native, she received her MBA from the University of Illinois at Springfield, formerly Sangamon State University, and her Bachelor of Arts in economics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Heidi Mueller will continue to serve as Director of the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice (IDJJ).* Mueller has spent nearly five years at IDJJ and was appointed to serve as director by Gov. Bruce Rauner in 2016 where she oversees the care, custody, and services provided to youth committed to the Department by Illinois Courts. Prior to joining IDJJ, Mueller served as the Director of the Illinois Juvenile Justice Commission, advising the Governor and General Assembly regarding juvenile justice policy and practice and administering the state’s federal grant funding under the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. Her background includes development and management of community programs for justice-involved youth, legal practice, front-line youth services, and social science research. She received her Juris Doctor from the University of Chicago Law School, Master of Arts in social psychology from Stony Brook University, and Bachelor of Arts in psychology and history from Macalester College.

Matt Perez will continue to serve as Illinois State Fire Marshal.* With over 30 years of experience in public safety, Perez was appointed as Illinois State Fire Marshal by Governor Bruce Rauner in 2015. He previously served as fire marshal for the City of Aurora. During his 27 years with the department, Perez became certified as a paramedic and rose to the rank of assistant chief. Before beginning his career in the fire service, Perez worked as a patrol officer in the Kane County Sheriff’s Department. He received his Bachelor of Science in Fire Service Management from Southern Illinois University.

* Appointment pending confirmation by the Illinois Senate.

Go, Jordan!

Your thoughts?

- Posted by Rich Miller        

50 Comments
  1. - Shytown - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 2:23 pm:

    More smart picks from Team Pritzker. Emily and Jordan will crush it. This might be the best line ups of admin appointments in a very long time.


  2. - Flynn's Mom - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 2:24 pm:

    What is the word on DHS Secretary?


  3. - Anon - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 2:30 pm:

    This is a solid lineup. Lots of legitimate experts in their areas. Bittner in particular is an awesome hire. She’s going to bring JB great experience from Chicago, and her background with Manchin will help the administration connect with downstate residents. If you don’t know Bittner yet, you will soon. She’s going to be a star as JB’s team hits the ground.


  4. - Langhorne - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 2:30 pm:

    Strong appts. Chgo-centric, but better than out of state “superstars”. Next litmus is HQ chgo, or Spfld?


  5. - Sharon - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 2:31 pm:

    There’s no one better in the communications space than Bittner. What a steal.

    7/8 are women! Team JB coming together very nicely.


  6. - Anon - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 2:34 pm:

    Great gender diversity in these picks.


  7. - brendan - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 2:36 pm:

    JB is going to be a multi term governor. I don’t see a reason he isn’t going to be governor for an entire generation.


  8. - Amalia - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 2:37 pm:

    nobody carps….or celebrates…when a list is 90% male. because people assume that is default. that this list is dominated by women is awesome.


  9. - Norseman - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 2:42 pm:

    === Chgo-centric, but better than out of state “superstars”. ===

    As for Chi or Spfld base, I don’t care where he lives as long as he spends legislative time in the Patch. As far as govt. employees, we don’t have enough money to be moving employees for the convenience of Chicago-based appointees.

    As far as the quality of appointments, I only know of Jordan’s work. She’ll have a tough job but she should be able to handle it.


  10. - Skeptic - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 2:43 pm:

    Interesting that there are Rauner hold-overs as well.


  11. - Permanent Moderation - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 2:49 pm:

    Hope to see more appointments. Need to reform the ICC and rid it of Northern IL Rauner campaign workers.


  12. - kitty - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 2:50 pm:

    Easily one of the most qualified groups of nominees put forth during my tenure with the State spanning 6 prior administrations. Hope whomever is appointed as DHS Secretary will work with Ms Eagleson and HFS to fix or better yet dump IES.


  13. - Demoralized - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 2:52 pm:

    I have been extremely impressed at his appointments thus far. Here’s hoping he’s as successful at governing as he seems to be in picking talent.


  14. - Albany Park Patriot - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 2:59 pm:

    Good to see so many women in positions of authority. Regardless of party, we need more of that.


  15. - Aldo Leopold - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 2:59 pm:

    Any word on IEPA Director?


  16. - Jen - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 3:14 pm:

    Lots to like here!


  17. - Eire17 - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 3:27 pm:

    HFS will be in awesome hands. Theresa is smart and knows the subject matter cold. Great lady great pick. Wish her all the best. It’s a tough job but she can do it.


  18. - Chicago Cynic - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 3:30 pm:

    Some folks are raising questions about so many women. Frankly, I read the list and didn’t even notice. All I saw was a list of incredibly qualified individuals in their respective roles.


  19. - Lucy - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 3:36 pm:

    So excited to see Jordan is staying on with Gov. Pritzker! Not only is Jordan really smart but she was the breath of fresh air on the campaign trail. She will be a great addition to the administration and I expect to see her do great things especially with the addition of highly talented, Emily Bittner running the Comms office.

    Bravo, Jordan!


  20. - Molly Maguire - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 3:39 pm:

    Abandon ship at Chicago City Hall, women and children first


  21. - pool boy - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 3:41 pm:

    Shades of Blago. Mostly Chicago appointments. I am sure they will have two offices and spend 1/2 their time in Chicago and 1/2 in Springfield. Increased travel, hotel and per diem costs.


  22. - Don Ames - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 3:46 pm:

    The above appointments are stellar no question. So far, there is a noticeable absence of white males and Hispanics in general on JB’s team.


  23. - Leslie K - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 3:51 pm:

    A lot of great choices. I’m most familiar with Newbern, who is top-notch. Super smart and a person of integrity with legislative cred. She’s definitely a ‘both sides of the aisle’ person, which is consistent with what JB has been saying about working together. Good sign.


  24. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 3:53 pm:

    I see quite a few worked with Rahm and Rauner, that’s a good sign.


  25. - Mama - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 3:56 pm:

    Will he be appointing someone new Supt. to oversee pre-school, K-12 and/or Higher- education?


  26. - illinifan - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 4:16 pm:

    Eagleson is a great pick. Also like that some prior appointees stay showing JB is willing to be bi-partisan. Hope DHS brings in some good experienced folks.


  27. - Demoralized - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 4:20 pm:

    ==Shades of Blago.==

    You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. Anyone in government who lived through Blago would laugh at you.


  28. - Pickles - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 4:21 pm:

    Any word on IDNR Director ?


  29. - 5th Floor - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 4:29 pm:

    Janel Forde is a superstar. Great pick there. Great picks all around, quite frankly.


  30. - Annonin' - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 4:33 pm:

    Solid picks up and down the line. Happy for Jordan. Memories of GovJunk BTIA will fade fast.


  31. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 4:42 pm:

    Emily is a great get for JBs team. A lot of very talented people on this list.


  32. - CPS Eagle - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 4:50 pm:

    Worked with Newbern a few years back, she’s fierce. Very strong hire for Pritzker.


  33. - Felix - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 4:57 pm:

    No white males. None.


  34. - Just doing time - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 5:04 pm:

    Any word on IDOC director? Desperately need a new Captian on that sinking ship. The current Acting director was never confirmed, so hopefully he is replaced soon.


  35. - South - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 5:14 pm:

    Hear Harmon has the line on IEPA director…


  36. - Commish - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 5:39 pm:

    The ICC needs major changes. Downstate representation, and the elimination of many positions made up in the last few years. Many sections there have more chiefs than indians, many in Chicago while their staff is in Springfield.


  37. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 6:00 pm:

    When will there be a candidate for IDOT? They need another Kirk Brown.


  38. - Smitty Irving - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 6:00 pm:

    pool boy -
    You do realize it is Matteson in greater Chicagoland, and Mattoon is near Charleston / EIU?


  39. - Fed up Guardsman - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 6:04 pm:

    Looks like great picks- hopefully he will stay in this direction and clean up the good ole’ boy system with in the Illinois National Guard- but I’m not holding my breath. Been in 27 years and I have never seen morale so low or misconduct so ignored. JB please pick a TAG that cares about the troops!!


  40. - The Dude - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 6:14 pm:

    I personally want anyone affiliated with Rauner or appointed by Rauner out of a job. Even if qualified.

    He wrecked this state.


  41. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 6:26 pm:

    I am here for idot


  42. - LINK - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 6:43 pm:

    Chicago Cynic, BINGO.

    In a perfect world this would be the norm.

    IDNR deserves a Director who cares about being a steward, let’s hope.

    Did I miss IDPH as they too deserve a real doctor AND administrator. Miss that Barney Turnock.


  43. - wordslinger - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 6:57 pm:

    –No white males. None.–

    We shall overcome, Tucker.


  44. - Blue Dog Dem - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 9:36 pm:

    JcIIi would make an excellent IDNR director. Excellent.


  45. - Working night and day... - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 10:08 pm:

    Forde is an excellent choice. Very smart commited, and engaged.


  46. - anon - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 11:08 pm:

    I agree with the Dude. Rauer picks should go.


  47. - AFFI-IAFF member - Thursday, Jan 10, 19 @ 11:18 pm:

    Glad to see Matt Perez stay on as Fire Marshal. He is doing a great job.


  48. - Anonymous - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 7:35 am:

    Curious to see the Ag Department pick, and if it will be oriented politically versus professionally.

    First female CMS Director, that’s new.


  49. - @misterjayem - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 12:24 pm:

    “I agree with the Dude. Rauer picks should go.”

    My contempt for the previous administration takes a backseat to no-one’s, but I can assure you that we are lucky to have the DJJ Director continue to serve Illinois.

    – MrJM


  50. - Soccermom - Friday, Jan 11, 19 @ 2:52 pm:

    Anonymous 7:35 a.m. — Nope, that was Simone McNeil.

    https://www.sj-r.com/x1868850174/Quinn-appoints-new-director-to-121-000-job


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