Former state Comptroller Leslie Munger says she is “swamped” overseeing economic development and other projects as deputy governor — but not too busy to roll up her sleeves to help persuade Amazon to build its second headquarters in Chicago.
Munger said Gov. Bruce Rauner appointed her “point person” for the state’s efforts to deliver the Amazon headquarters a few days ago.
She also told the Chicago Sun-Times that Rauner has personally spoken to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos about the coveted project.
“It requires working with the city, working with Intersect Illinois and DCEO [the Department of Commerce and Economic Opporunity],” Munger said Friday of her new assignment. “It requires working with various other agencies in the state to figure out our assets, what we can look at and consider to offer Amazon. My role is to come in at a high leader level to bring the team together to set the goals and roll up my sleeves.”
Both Rauner and Mayor Rahm Emanuel are working to bring the online shopping giant to Chicago. The $5 billion headquarters would net the city as many as 50,000 jobs, the mayor said last week in disclosing his own conversations with Bezos.
The governor said his administration is working with the city of Chicago’s economic development team at Intersect Illinois and “regional teams” around the state to produce a package of proposals to be submitted to Amazon in October.
Munger disclosed her own role as quarterback of Rauner’s team after the Sun-Times ran a report about changes in staff and responsibilities in the administration.
Munger’s complete duties as one of two deputy governors weren’t specified in an organizational chart released to staffers by Rauner’s chief of staff Kristina Rasmussen. The charts showed Munger in charge of Illinois Bicentennial events and corresponding with taxpayers. But the administration says her duties haven’t changed and that she is involved with economic development, human service agencies, external relations and stakeholder management.
Rauner named Munger his second deputy governor, with a $135,00-a-year salary, earlier this year. The other deputy governor is Trey Childress, a former Georgia state official who has seen his responsibilities grow — with less reporting to the chief of staff.
The former comptroller defended her role on Friday, saying she oversees every major economic development in the state of Illinois.
Munger said she is “swamped” daily.
“It’s not the boxes under the name. It’s in fact what we’re able to get done with fewer boxes,” Munger said of organizational charts of the administration’s latest staff structure, which she likened to a business model.
“We’ve been pushing lean management principles … to drive costs out, to be more responsive,” Munger said.