Mission for new CPS executive team: cut jobs

In January, Mayor Richard M. Daley moved Chicago Transit Authority President Ron Huberman to the top post at Chicago Public Schools. By handing the district to his former chief of staff, Daley signaled his focus on school reform — and he rewarded Huberman's loyalty.

Loyalty, it turns out, is something Huberman values, too.

Yesterday, Huberman named 16 executives at the district, handing top posts to four of his former colleagues at the CTA. The announcement was mostly a formality — many of the administrators were already at the district — but it also heralded the next step in Huberman's plan: layoffs.

"Chicago Public Schools has many outstanding professionals," Huberman said in a statement. "At the same time, we have identified areas where we can operate more efficiently to ensure that our most valued assets, our classrooms and education programs, are not compromised."

The cuts are meant to chip away at a $475 million shortfall at the district by 2010.

District spokeswoman Monique Bond says officials plan to save $100 million with the coming cuts. She estimated about 1,000 positions total would be eliminated from the district within the fiscal year. It will be up to the new administrators to cut the positions, she says.

"Many of these managers are going to be looking at streamlining and cutting positions and employees within their department," says Bond. "Many of these managers are going to have added responsibilities."

Bond says that while none of the managers took pay cuts, they will not be paid more than their predecessors with similar titles. Two of the 16 positions are new.

In a statement, Chicago Board of Education President Michael Scott said the cuts are "sound management."

"Meeting CPS’ budget deficit will require some tough choices and sacrifices from all of us,” Scott said.

Signs of layoffs were clear by April, when Chief Administrative Officer Hill Hammock resigned. Back then, Bond said more cuts were coming.

"We will probably see more management deciding to take that same course over the coming weeks," Bond said. "This is going to be a phased process, which will include all level of management and administrative positions."

The new executive team includes a replacement for Hammock. Robert Runcie, who has been the district's chief information officer and formerly a management consultant, will be acting chief administrative officer. Arshele Stevens, Runcie's former deputy, will fill his old post.

One of two new roles at the district is that of chief performance officer. Sarah Kremsner, formerly vice president of performance management at the CTA, will be chief performance officer.

Antonio Ruiz, previously Chicago's chief technology operations officer, will serve in the second new role as deputy for performance-management technology.

Chiefs of staff for Huberman and Scott were among the appointments. Adam Case, who worked under Huberman at the CTA, will join his former boss. David Pickens, who has focused on school closings and turnarounds, will work with Scott.

Michael Shields will replace Andres Durbak, who left the district, as acting safety and security officer. Shields is a cousin of First Lady Michelle Obama.

Other appointments were Eduardo Garza as director of intergovernmental affairs, Alan Anderson as CEO for human capital, Donald Fraynd as acting executive director of the Office of School Turnaround, Sean Harden as deputy for community relations, Jerusha Rodgers as acting officer for college and career preparation, Aarti Dhupelia as director of career and technical education, Christina Herzog as acting budget and management director, and Pat Taylor as acting chief facilities officer.