PROVIDENCE – In a release announcing a number of state-level staffing changes on Friday, Gov. Lincoln D. Chafee said that Jamia McDonald, formerly Chafee’s deputy chief of staff, will join the R.I. Emergency Management Agency permanently as executive director.
In her new role, McDonald will work to expand the agency’s capabilities and “lead interagency collaboration for preparedness activities,” said Chafee’s office.
Since April, McDonald, who previously acted as the governor’s liaison with the agency, has been conducting a thorough evaluation of the agency’s operations.
“Given her observations and the high frequency of severe weather events in recent years, the governor made the decision to ask her to serve at RIEMA on a permanent basis,” said the release.
Chafee also announced a number of other staffing changes to his communications office, including the loss of Deputy Communications Director and Chief Speechwriter Christian Vareika, who will be leaving the administration for law school and Communications Association James Alvarez, who will be leaving to pursue a career in the U.S. Army.
Longtime journalist and communications professional Faye Zuckerman will serve as deputy communications director, and journalist and author Alexander Heffner will serve as New Media Associate. Kyrie Perry, a recent Roger Williams University graduate, and Nancy Lavin, a recent University of Rhode Island graduate, will join the staff as communications associates.
In other staffing-related news, Chafee announced that Jonathan Stevens, formerly assistant to the governor for special projects, will now serve as senior adviser to the governor and director of special projects.