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Rahm's new "public engagement" office based on White House model

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More evidence that Mayor Rahm Emanuel is using the White House operation to restructure Chicago's City Hall, perhaps foreshadowing a presidential run in 2016 or beyond: the announcement Saturday that he is launching an Office of Public Engagement--based on the White House office of the same name. Basically, the agency will serve to bolster the Emanuel agenda and provide a point of contact for people and groups--sidestepping the need to go to aldermen or ward committeemen for gripes, information, services or suggestions.

Over at the White House, Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett oversees the Office of Public Engagement. The director of the White House Office of Public Engagement is Jon Carson--a former Illinois political operative, an Obama 2008 campaign veteran who managed Tammy Duckworth's 2006 Illinois House campaign.

Emanuel is President Barack Obama's former chief of staff. He tapped Deputy Chief of Staff Felicia Davis to "spearhead" creation of the new City Hall office.

CITY HALL DETAILS ON WHAT RAHM'S OFFICE OF PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT WILL DO:

The office "will serve as a direct link between the Mayor's Office, City departments, Sister Agencies, external partners and communities across the City to make city government and its resources more accessible," according to a City Hall release.

"...This work will include connecting community members to resources across City government to help them serve and celebrate their communities; and collaborating with neighborhood and civic organizations, nonprofits, policy advisory groups and various city agencies to inform and engage citizens for the betterment of their communities and the city at large."

WHAT THE WHITE HOUSE OFFICE OF PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT DOES:

According to the White House, "the Office of Public Engagement is the embodiment of the President's goal of making government inclusive, transparent, accountable and responsible.

"We create and coordinate opportunities for direct dialogue between the Obama Administration and the American public, while bringing new voices to the table and ensuring that everyone can participate and inform the work of the President.

"The Office of Public Engagement helps open the two-way dialogue, ensuring that the issues impacting our nation's proud and diverse communities have a receptive team dedicated to making their voices heard within the Administration, and even more importantly helping their concerns be translated into action by the appropriate bodies of the Federal Government.

"As part of making the Government accessible to its citizens, the Office of Public Engagement acts as a point of coordination for public speaking engagement for the Administration and the various departments of the Executive Offices of the President. The Office of Public Engagement removes obstacles and barriers for engagement and works to improve public awareness and involvement in the work of the Administration."


below, from City Hall...


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 23, 2012

CONTACT:
Mayor's Press Office
312.744.3334
press@cityofchicago.org

MAYOR EMANUEL CREATES NEW OFFICE OF PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT

CHICAGO - Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced the creation of a new Office of Public Engagement which will serve as a direct link between the Mayor's Office, City departments, Sister Agencies, external partners and communities across the City to make city government and its resources more accessible.

"Chicago is a city of communities and our diverse communities are what make Chicago great," said Mayor Emanuel. "One of our goals is to ensure that as an administration we are doing everything possible to reach out to each and every community, engage them in working with my administration on improving our City, and to make government services and assistance available."

Working with the Office of New Americans, Commission on Human Relations, Faith Outreach, Civic Engagement and Service (formerly the Chief Service Officer) and Chicago Alternative Policing Strategies (CAPS), and external and community affairs representatives from city departments and sister agencies, the Mayor's Office of Public Engagement will allow the City to enhance community outreach and engagement efforts.

This work will include connecting community members to resources across City government to help them serve and celebrate their communities; and collaborating with neighborhood and civic organizations, nonprofits, policy advisory groups and various city agencies to inform and engage citizens for the betterment of their communities and the city at large.

The creation of this new office will be spearheaded by Deputy Chief of Staff Felicia Davis.

"As First Deputy Chief of Staff, Felicia has demonstrated a special talent for connecting communities and working with the diversity of the City," added Mayor Emanuel. "She has used her experience as a police officer, knowledge of the City, and collaborative approach to problem solving to lead the City/County Public Safety Collaboration on Anti-Violence and Community Stabilization, to direct Chicago's involvement in the United States Department of Justice National Forum on Youth Violence, and to coordinate City resources for the successful NATO Summit. She is the natural choice to oversee the creation of this new office."

"I am proud that Mayor Emanuel has chosen me to lead this important new office," said Davis. "Chicago is strongest when we realize that we share one City and one mission. The Office of Public Engagement will work to support that shared mission, so that we can shape a better future for Chicago's children."

About Felicia Davis:

Felicia is a dynamic leader with a passion for service. "In my life, I have walked in the footsteps of those I serve and believe I have an obligation to work to effect changes large and small that will benefit them and impact the shape of their future." It was this commitment that inspired Mayor Emanuel to ask her to serve as a member of the Mayoral Transition Team and Chair the Public Safety Committee in 2011. With a professional career spanning more than 20 years, Felicia has worked in a wide range of environments with diverse populations and built strong networks and partnerships along the way. Most recently, Felicia served as the Vice President of Administration at Kendall College. Prior to Kendall College, Felicia served the Chicago Police Department, with distinction, for 10 years. During her tenure at CPD, she worked in many roles, completing her law enforcement career as a Detective in the Department's Violent Crimes section, where she also oversaw the Community Policing Strategies. Felicia is a Chicago native and life-long resident; she resides on the City's South Side with her family.


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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on June 24, 2012 9:14 AM.

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