CHICAGO — Senior Lightfoot Administration Staff Biographies
Jennie Huang Bennett, Chief Financial Officer
Jennie Bennett will serve as the City’s Chief Financial Officer. Currently the Chief Financial Officer for Chicago Public Schools (CPS), Ms. Bennett has extensive experience in managing financial turnarounds, driving cost efficiencies, managing large complex capital structures, developing governmental budgets, generating revenues through creative solutions, and finding paths toward financial stability. Bennett has a wide range of both public sector and private sector experience. She helped lead CPS through significant financial difficulties, which have now been relieved through new, fairer educational funding. She has also served as CPS’s acting Chief Internal Auditor since 2018 and Treasurer from 2012-16. Prior to CPS, Bennett spent over a decade as a senior investment banker in municipal securities, managing post-recovery financing needs for New York after 9/11 and Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina.
Maurice Classen, Chief of Staff
Maurice Classen will serve as Chief of Staff in the Mayor-elect’s Administration. Mr. Classen currently serves in this role on the transition team, where he has successfully led the Mayor-elect and her staff in preparation for her role as the Mayor of Chicago. Classen has focused his life’s work on public safety, justice and police reform issues. As a key advisor to the Chicago Police Department, Classen focused on improvements in community policing, increasing training, using data analytics and community partnerships to build safe streets, and enforce reform mandates under the consent decree. He also served on the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force under Mayor-elect Lightfoot’s leadership. Previously, Maurice acted as a program officer focused on criminal justice reform and violence reduction at the MacArthur Foundation. Classen received a Bachelor of Science degree in international politics from the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University and earned his J.D. at the University of Washington School of Law.
Mark A. Flessner, Corporation Counsel
Mark Flessner will serve as Corporation Counsel to the Lightfoot administration. He is an experienced Chicago trial attorney and partner at Holland & Knight and is well-versed in handling sophisticated matters across numerous industry sectors including healthcare, retail, manufacturing, insurance and finance.He also has substantial experience investigating wrongdoing within the corporate world. Mr. Flessner served on the Chicago Police Accountability Task Force, chaired by Mayor-elect Lightfoot. Prior to entering private practice, Mr. Flessner was a federal prosecutor at the United States Attorney’s Office in Chicago for 12 years.
Taylor Lewis, Director of Scheduling and Advance
Taylor Lewis will serve as the Mayor-elect’s Director of Scheduling and Advance. On the transition team, Ms. Lewis managed the Mayor-elect’s schedule in order to ensure all priorities were met in a timely and efficient manner throughout the city. Lewis is an experienced project manager, communicator, and relationship manager most recently serving as a Senior Communications Consultant II at Allstate. Lewis developed and managed the Allstate Personal Lines President’s proactive speaking engagement plan to reach critical stakeholders and increase confidence in Allstate’s business strategy, results and growth opportunities. Lewis graduated from the University of Missouri with a Bachelor of Journalism degree in Strategic Communication.
Dan Lurie, Policy Director
Dan Lurie will serve as the Policy Director in Mayor-elect Lightfoot’s Administration. Lurie is a senior fellow and director of New America Chicago. As a community development expert with extensive experience in local, state and federal government, Mr. Lurie has long been an advocate for social justice. Lurie served in the Obama Administration from 2009 to 2016 and was the deputy director for policy for former Vice President Biden where he led the Vice President’s transportation, housing, community development, distressed communities, infrastructure, rural, and place-based agenda. Prior to that, Lurie served as an advisor to the National Endowment for the Arts and to Deputy Secretary Ron Sims at the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Lurie began his career as an antitrust attorney and deputy chief of staff at the Chicago Transit Board of the Chicago Transit Authority. Lurie has a B.A. in American history from the of the University of Michigan, and a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School.
Celia Meza, Mayor’s Counsel and Senior Ethics Advisor
Celia Meza will serve in a new position designed to provide clarity and ethical guidance to the Mayor’s Office, while the Corporation Counsel represents the city as a whole. Throughout her career, Ms. Meza has specialized in legal counsel on issues ranging from labor, employment, ethics, and compliance. She will assist in developing and implementing legal and ethics policies, and act as a liaison for the Mayor’s Office to the Corporation Counsel’s Office, city departments, government agencies, and legal organizations. Meza is currently Assistant General Counsel for the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons where, among other responsibilities, she provides legal oversight and review for in-house corporate legal matters and oversees the Ethics platform for the Corporate Integrity Reporting Program. She previously served as Associate General Counsel for Chicago State University in the Office of Labor and Legal Affairs, and as Deputy Inspector General for the City of Chicago.
Candace Moore, Chief Equity Officer
Candace Moore will serve as the Chief Equity Officer, a new position created by the Lightfoot administration. Ms. Moore is currently Senior Staff Attorney for the Education Equity Project at Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, Moore has partnered with communities across the city to advocate for racial equity and advance meaningful solutions. She was instrumental in the fight to stop National Teachers Academy (NTA) from closing. She also serves as a strategic advisor and partner to Chicago United for Equity, which works to advance racial equity across our city. Moore participated in the inaugural class of the Racial Justice Training Institute at the Sargent Shriver National Poverty Law Center and the inaugural class of the Surge Fellowship program focused on addressing the issues of race and class in urban education. Moore will bring her extensive training in issues of equity and justice to the newly-created Office of Equity and Racial Justice, which will be tasked with creating and advancing new policies and practices through the lens of equity. Additionally, Candace will work to form partnerships with community stakeholders and city departments to strengthen and promote equitable outcomes throughout city government.
Susie Park, Budget Director
Susie Park will become Chicago’s new budget director. She is currently the Deputy Chief for the Chicago Police Department’s Bureau of Organizational Development. Ms. Park has an extensive history in city government, holding a range of senior positions within city departments and agencies since 2011. She has directed and led teams, managed budgets over $2 billion for the City’s Office and Budget Management and has worked with departments on budget preparation, forecasting, hiring and grants. Prior to her work with the City of Chicago, Park served as the Director of Financial Control for Cook County.