Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot announces her transition team

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Lori Lightfoot celebrates at her election night rally at the Hilton Chicago after defeating Toni Preckwinkle in the Chicago mayoral election, Tuesday, April 2, 2019. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

With only six weeks to go before the inauguration, Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot on Thursday announced five key members of the transition team that will help her put together her new administration.

The rainbow team includes: former Lightfoot campaign manager Manny Perez, who will serve as intergovernmental adviser; Chief of Staff Maurice Classen, who served with Lightfoot on the Task Force for Police Accountability; and senior adviser Ra Joy, Chris Kennedy’s running mate for lieutenant governor.

Rounding out the team are transition manager Lisa Schneider-Fabes; and senior adviser Sarah Pang, who once served as deputy chief of staff for public safety under former Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Before joining the Lightfoot’s mayoral campaign, Perez served as campaign manager for Congressman Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, who endorsed Lightfoot.

Schneider-Fabes has held top jobs at the Chicago Public Schools and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Pang chaired Gery Chico’s mayoral campaign. Chico endorsed Lightfoot over Toni Preckwinkle in Tuesday’s runoff.

Pang also served on Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s transition team. She apparently got to know Lightfoot while Pang was a Daley staffer and Lightfoot was running the Office of Professional Standards that preceded the Civilian Office of Police Accountability.

Lightfoot will be sworn into office May 20.

On Thursday, she was briefed on the city budget by Emanuel’s all-female financial team.

Earlier this week, she held her first face-to-face transition meeting with Emanuel in the mayor’s office on the fifth floor of City Hall.

Emanuel pledged his full cooperation and handed her a transition book up to 350 pages long.

The transition team has its work cut out. The period between the runoff and the inauguration is several days shorter than it was when Daley passed the baton to Emanuel.

“We have a lot of hard work ahead to bring about the change Chicagoans demanded on April 2,” Lightfoot was quoted as saying in a press release.

“I am proud to entrust Ra, Sarah, Manny, Maurice and Lisa to advise us as we set up this administration to be both bold and effective. Together, we can deliver on the broad mandate for change given to us by voters all across Chicago.”

Also on Thursday, Lightfoot met with Chicago Federation of Labor President Bob Reiter. The CFL is among a coalition of labor groups that partly own the Chicago Sun-Times.

After the meeting, Lightfoot and Reiter issued a joint statement.

“We made this meeting a priority in the first week of the transition because of the importance of organized labor to working families across the city,” they said.

“We discussed shared priorities, including raising the minimum wage to $15 by 2021, defending collective bargaining rights and ensuring scheduling protections for Chicago workers. This conversation was just the beginning, and we’re looking forward to meeting again and working closely together to build a Chicago that works for everyone.”

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