Mayor Brandon Scott has named his new chief of staff. Chezia Cager will become the mayor’s top advisor and oversee his legislative affairs, communications and constituent services starting Nov. 28.

Cager, a Baltimore native, has served in senior advisory roles in both the Obama and Biden administrations, according to a news release from the mayor’s office, which states she led improvement efforts impacting domestic policy, national operations and external engagements.

“Chezia brings an impressive wealth of government experience, first-hand knowledge of Baltimore, and a comprehensive understanding of how to develop and maintain beneficial partnerships with federal, state, and local governments for more than 15 years,” Scott said in a statement.

Cager received an undergraduate degree from Salisbury University, spending her breaks between class terms as an assistant for the Maryland legislature, according to a 2016 profile in the Black Business Review.

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After graduating, she joined Mayor Sheila Dixon’s administration in 2007. Following Dixon’s resignation, she received a master’s degree in communications from Notre Dame of Maryland University in 2010 and began an internship at the White House in 2011, according to the Black Business Review.

“As a Baltimore native, I’m proud that my public service career began right here at home,” Cager said in a statement. “I’m excited to support Mayor Scott’s vision and continue to serve our citizens and City of Baltimore.”

Cager’s appointment is a significant one in an administration dotted with high-profile departures.

The chief of staff in Baltimore City Hall has traditionally been the mayor’s “break glass in case of emergency” tool — in past administrations, chiefs of staff have dealt with everything from wrangling the Department of Public Works to improve constituent services to whipping council members and state lawmakers to get in line with the mayor’s vision.

When Scott was council president, he introduced a charter amendment that was later overwhelmingly approved by voters to create a city administrator position, a permanent role tasked with overseeing all logistical details of Baltimore’s operations. The office of the city administrator now oversees many agencies and offices that were formerly under the purview of the chief of staff.

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Former City Administrator Chris Shorter and former Chief of Staff Michael Huber were the mayor’s two closest advisers. Both men have told The Baltimore Banner they strove to make the inaugural arrangement productive.

Shorter announced that he will leave City Hall to take a new job as Prince William County, Virginia executive at the end of the year; Huber left to become a director on Johns Hopkins University’s government relations team in early September. Deputy solicitor Ebony Thompson has occupied the role on an interim basis since then.

Emily Sullivan covers Baltimore City Hall. She joined the Banner after three years at WYPR, where she won multiple awards for her radio stories on city politics and culture. She previously reported for NPR’s national airwaves, focusing on business news and breaking news.

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