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Mayor Bill de Blasio Announces Changes in His Administration

January 29, 2016

NEW YORK— Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced staffing changes in his administration.

Peter Hatch, who served for two years as the Senior Advisor to First Deputy Mayor Anthony Shorris, has been named Chief of Staff to Dr. Herminia Palacio, Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services. As Senior Advisor to First Deputy Mayor Shorris, Hatch played a leading role in the review to strengthen 911 operations, the launch of innovative EMS initiatives, the successful effort to end chronic veteran homelessness, and the implementation of the Mayor’s parks equity agenda.

In his new role, Hatch will support Deputy Mayor Palacio in addressing homelessness across the five boroughs and developing a citywide network for mental health support. In addition, he will help in the coordination of the City’s public health care system, improve access to social services for all New Yorkers, and ensure agencies that oversee New York City’s most vulnerable populations, such as children and victims of domestic violence, are run compassionately and effectively. He will also coordinate closely with the Office of the First Deputy Mayor on the on-going review of the City's homeless programs.

Kevin O’Brien is joining the Administration as Deputy Chief of Staff, and will be responsible for assisting the Chief of Staff in overseeing the Office of Appointments, the Office of Special Projects and Community Events, the Office of Citywide Events Coordination and Management, NYC Service, the Office for International Affairs, and the Office of Scheduling and Advance. The Deputy Chief of Staff is also responsible for the implementation of special projects as assigned by the Chief of Staff.

O’Brien most recently worked as Deputy Chief of Staff to Montana Governor Steve Bullock, and previously served as Campaign Manager for the Bullock for Governor Campaign. Prior to his campaign work, O’Brien served as the Director of Communications for the Montana Department of Justice, and was the primary spokesman for the Attorney General. O’Brien was also a communications aide to the Montana Democratic Party and Senator Jon Tester. He is a native of Chicago and attended Illinois State University.

Andrea Zuniga, the prior Deputy Chief of Staff, has moved over to Intergovernmental Affairs where she will take on a new role as Director of Federal Affairs. Zuniga has played an important role helping in the daily management and coordination of all aspects of the Mayor’s Office. In her new role, Zuniga will coordinate the Federal Legislative Affairs Office in Washington DC, working closely with Members of Congress and the White House, toward Federal Policies that benefit New York City.

Max Sevillia, the previous Director of Federal Affairs, has moved on to become Director of External Affairs for the Office of the Counsel to the Mayor, which advises the Mayor on legal matters and manages key policy initiatives for the administration, including gender equity, civil and human rights, Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBE), and universal and affordable broadband throughout the five boroughs. As Director of Federal Affairs, Sevillia helped to secure significant federal investments in New York City priorities.

Paul R. Rodríguez is joining the Administration as Deputy Counsel to the Mayor. His portfolio will include issues relating to criminal justice, economic development, labor, infrastructure and M/WBE’s.

Prior to joining the Mayor’s Office, Rodríguez was an associate at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP where he worked on a wide variety of matters, including financing transactions, securities regulation and intellectual property, and also served as the Simpson Thacher & Bartlett extern to Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A. Rodríguez previously served for four years as an aide to U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg, where he focused on transportation, infrastructure, labor and national security issues. Rodríguez is a graduate of Yale Law School and Montclair State University.

Paul R. Rodríguez is replacing Ian Bassin, the previous Deputy Counsel to the Mayor. Ian departed City Hall in November to begin as the new Domestic Chief Operating Officer at Give Directly, a non-profit that allows donors to send money directly to the less fortunate.

Stephanie Yazgi is moving from the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) to become Senior Advisor in the Office of the Chief of Staff. At MOIA, Stephanie played a leading role developing New York City’s capacity to serve immigrant populations. Stephanie has overseen the Administration’s engagement with municipalities across the country, advocating for immigration reforms at the federal level, and identified innovative policies and programs focused on immigrant integration at the municipal level. In her new role, she will build upon her work at MOIA with a broader policy portfolio of local government issues that impact all New Yorkers.

Melissa Diaz has been announced as the new Director of the Mayor’s Office of Research and Media Analysis, and is set to oversee all media monitoring related to the City’s policies and operations. Diaz began her career in City government as a research analyst in the in the Mayor’s Office of Research and Media Analysis. She most recently served as Intergovernmental Liaison at the Fire Department of New York, where she focused on responding to constituent concerns. In this role, she was responsible for facilitating communication between the agency and elected officials and community stakeholders. Diaz previously taught fifth grade students at KIPP Infinity Middle School in West Harlem as a Teach for America Corps Member.

Mahen Gunaratna, the previous Director of Media Research and Analysis, is now working on Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign as the campaign’s Florida press secretary.

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