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Weisner appoints new assistant chief of staff

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Updated: January 23, 2012 3:55AM

AURORA — Rick Guzman, who has been involved in poverty programs and helping families find homes in Aurora, has been named assistant chief of staff for Mayor Tom Weisner.

Guzman was previously director of community development for Community 4:12, a non-profit arm of Community Christian Church in Aurora, and is founder of Emmanuel House Community Development Corp., a non-profit that helps working class families in Aurora purchase their first home.

An attorney, Guzman has extensive public policy experience, according to city spokesman Kevin Stahr.

Guzman began the city position last week, at a salary of $76,086.

He fills a vacancy created earlier this summer when Bea Torres, one of two assistant chiefs of staff, was named assistant director of finance and water billing. Torres replaced Kathy Jungels, who retired.

“Rick has been an active member in the Aurora community for many years. He is smart, creative and entrepreneurial,” Weisner said Tuesday. “I feel his expertise and the numerous partnerships he’s developed throughout the years will be a real asset to Aurora.”

As assistant chief of staff, Guzman will be a liaison to community organizations and non-profit groups. Neighborhood quality-of-life issues and housing will also fall under his role, Stahr said.

“This is an opportunity for me to work on the issues I’m most passionate about, like housing and building partnerships,” Guzman said.

“The mayor is a big believer in the notion that we can accomplish much more through partnership than the sum of our individual efforts, and that is one of the things I’m most excited about,” Guzman said.

With Community 4:12, Guzman worked to develop programs that targeted the causes of poverty through church, government and other organization partnerships.

Guzman was director of the Office of Re-entry Management for the Illinois Department of Corrections from 2004-2006, and IDOC program director for the Illinois Going Home Program, a federally funded endeavor helping prisoners transition back to society.

From 2000-2003, Guzman was a policy adviser to the governor, working with state leaders on criminal justice, civil rights, homeland security and other issues.

Guzman has a law degree from Northern Illinois University and a sociology degree with an emphasis in public policy from North Central College. He has lived in Aurora for 10 years.

The mayor’s other assistant chief of staff is Chuck Nelson, former 4th Ward Alderman. Carie Anne Ergo is chief of staff.

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