CFD veteran picked to lead new Public Safety Administration
Annastasia M. Walker will serve as executive director of the city’s Office of Public Safety Administration, Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Friday. Walker will be tasked with overseeing “efforts to reduce costs, increase efficiencies and improve administrative functions” across the city’s police and fire departments, as well as the Office of Emergency Management and Communications.
The new office will merge the administrative functions of the city’s three public safety departments and will share headquarters with the CPD and CFD in Bronzeville. The office’s creation was announced in October.
Before her appointment, Walker served as chief administrative officer at the Chicago Fire Department, working to manage budget processes, federal grant initiatives, intergovernmental affairs and operations for the city’s public safety departments, according to the mayor’s office.
Chicago Public Schools CEO Janice Jackson joined Sen. Dick Durbin on Friday to support a Democrat-led bill that could provide billions of dollars in funding to school districts across the country, including CPS.
“Responding to this pandemic can’t be left to local and state government officials, which is why we appreciate Sen. Durbin’s efforts to ensure we have the resources we need to open schools safely and educate our children,” Jackson said at a news conference outside Little Village Academy on the West Side.
The Coronavirus Child Care and Education Relief Act was introduced in late June but has not yet progressed out of the Senate.
The proposal calls for $430 billion for education, including $175 billion for K-12 schools.
It isn’t clear how much would be allocated for Chicago schools. But Durbin said, “We are going to take what we can get where we can get it. I want to get that number up as high as possible.”
Jackson said she would like CPS to get at least $205 million — the amount it received from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic
Security Act (CARES) — or more.
“In order to balance our budget, we do need additional support from the federal government,” Jackson said. “Those additional resources are going to be the difference between what kind of supports we can put in place to ensure that students are safe when they return in the fall.”
CPS has not finalized its budget, although budgets have been distributed to individual schools, Jackson said.
Jackson on Friday also spoke about reopening plans and how CPS officials have been reviewing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s latest guidelines for schools.
“Our plan will be guided by science,” the schools CEO said.
The current plan calls for most students to return to school for two days a week. The plan originally called for 11th and 12th graders to do online classes only, but Jackson this week said the district was rethinking that portion of the plan.
Annastasia M. Walker