Davis Appointed New Building Commish

Chicago City HallThe Chicago Department of Buildings has a new head. Mayor Rahm Emanuel today named Felicia Davis Commissioner, replacing Michael Merchant. Davis will oversee code enforcement, as well as ongoing efforts to modernize the department.

Davis was the first Executive Director of the Office of Public Engagement, acting as a liaison between the Mayor’s Office and other City departments, and external organizations. Prior to that, she was a staffer for Emanuel’s transition team, having worked on his campaign back in 2010 and 2011. Davis has a colorful resume, having also worked as an administrator at Kendall College and a detective in the Chicago Police Department.

“Beginning with her role in my transition, Felicia has been an invaluable member of my team, bringing to public service a unique skill set that has served Chicago and our residents well,” said Emanuel. “Felicia’s diverse background as a police officer, college administrator, and in community engagement will continue to serve her well as she takes on this new role to enhance service efficiency, promote safety and advance economic development throughout Chicago’s neighborhoods.”

Davis, a Chicago native and life-long resident, resides on the South Side with her family. She will begin serving as acting commissioner, pending City Council approval of her appointment.

“The Department of Buildings plays a vital role in public safety and neighborhood protection, and it also has a responsibility to help review plans and issue permits efficiently to allow new developments to revitalize neighborhoods, create new jobs, and expand economic activity,” said Davis. “I am honored to continue serving the Mayor in this new role.”

Merchant, an attorney and former Deputy Director in the Mayor’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, was recently tapped to head the beleaguered Chicago Housing Authority. He had served as Building Commissioner since Emanuel’s election.

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