SPRINGFIELD — Gov.-elect JB Pritzker on Thursday filled another eight positions in his administration, and seven of those jobs will be held by women.
Pritzker also continued with a bipartisan approach to filling key positions in his administration by asking two agency directors from Gov. Bruce Rauner’s administration to stay in their positions.
Pritzker named Theresa Eagleson as director of the Department of Healthcare and Family Services, the giant agency that’s in charge of administering Medicaid and child support services. The agency is responsible for health care costs for more than 3 million people and has a total budget of about $23 billion, of which nearly $8 billion is state money.
Eagleson currently is executive director of the Office of Medicaid Innovation at the University of Illinois system. She previously served as Medicaid director for Illinois and as deputy administrator for the Division of Medical Programs. She also held positions in former Gov. Jim Edgar’s administration.
She will replace Patricia Bellock, a former Republican representative. Bellock was named to the job last summer after deciding not to run for re-election.
The chief operating officer for the city of Chicago will become the new director of the Department of Central Management Services. Janel Forde was previously chief operating officer for the state Board of Education and was deputy commissioner of Chicago’s Department of Fleet and Facility Management. She holds a master’s degree from Stanford.
CMS provides administrative support services to the state and acts as the state leasing agent, personnel agency and fleet manager.
Alicia Tate-Nadeau, currently head of Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications, will assume that role for the state. She will be director of Homeland Security and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.
Tate-Nadeau was previously assistant adjutant general for the Illinois National Guard and has 32 years' experience with the organization.
Pritzker said he will hold over two directors from the Rauner administration. Heidi Mueller will continue as director of the Department of Juvenile Justice, and Matt Perez will continue as state Fire Marshal.
The governor-elect also filled three positions in his executive office. Emily Bittner will serve as deputy chief of staff for communications. She currently serves as chief of strategy for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. She has also served as chief spokesperson for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and the Democratic Governors Association.
Former WICS-TV Statehouse reporter Jordan Abudayyeh will serve as Pritzker’s press secretary. She has been Pritzker’s press secretary during his transition period and also served in that role during his campaign.
Tiffany Newbern-Johnson will become Pritzker’s deputy chief of staff for legislative affairs. She currently heads Emanuel’s state legislative agenda and previously worked on House Speaker Michael Madigan’s staff.