The Illinois Tollway on Thursday named Jose Alvarez, the former COO of the Chicago Housing Authority, as its executive director, as Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s administration completed a full sweep of the tollway’s board.
Alvarez also served as deputy chief of staff for Chicago Public Schools and chief of staff for the state superintendent of education for Washington, D.C., schools.
Alvarez replaces interim director Kevin Artl, who previously served as chief operating officer. Artl led the agency after former Cook County Commissioner Liz Gorman, whom former Gov. Bruce Rauner appointed in 2018, left the board in mid-March.
* Daily Herald…
“He’s been there and done it,” tollway Chairman Will Evans said. “He’s got experience running a large agency; the CHA is, I think, the second largest housing authority in the United States.
“You’ve got a large organization that he’s been used to managing, he made a lot of changes and it’s really a great team member that’s going to join us.”
Alvarez’s hiring comes with the backing of Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, who on Feb. 28 replaced the entire tollway board in the wake of concerns about cronyism in hiring and contracts. Usually, governors let tollway directors finish out their terms.
Alvarez replaces former Cook County Commissioner Liz Gorman, an influential Republican, who was picked with support from former GOP Gov. Bruce Rauner in February 2018. Gorman exited March 15 this year.
* Daily Energy Insider…
Gov. JB Pritzker made two new appointments to the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) this week, naming Commissioner Carrie Zalewski chairman and adding Maria Bocanegra to the commission.
Both positions still require approval from the Senate. That said, outgoing ICC chairman Brien Sheahan has already congratulated Zalewski on her new position, which follows her recent, five-year term appointment to the ICC. By contrast, Bocanegra will serve only a four-year term.
Both women come to their positions from backgrounds as attorneys and in public service. […]
Zalewski has worked as a state regulator, on the Illinois Pollution Control Board and as Assistant Chief Counsel for the Illinois Department of Transportation, in addition to private practice work. She also received her education in-state, at Chicago-Kent Law School and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. […]
Bocanegra has served as an arbitrator at the Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission, in the public seat on the Labor Advisory Board for the Illinois Department of Labor, in addition to her private practice work. She is a graduate of DePaul University College of Law and Quincy University.