Richard Goldberg will replace Mike Zolnierowicz as chief of staff for Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner at the end of the month. In his new role, Goldberg effectively will be in charge of day-to-day government operations.
“No one will work harder to fix the State than Richard. He is extremely smart, loyal and relentless,” Rauner said. “Richard has my full support and trust. I know he will do a great job in his role.”
Democrats have said that Goldberg, as Deputy Chief of Staff for Legislative Affairs and Strategic Initiatives since January 2015, would give testimony in hearings just to obstruct, not to advance negotiations.
"Rich’s job is to be the governor’s unmentionable anatomy," Democratic Sen. Don Harmon said last year.
"I hope that this is a re-commitment to working together to try to reach a responsible budget," Harmon said of Goldberg's promotion, "and I hope this is not the moment when Thelma looks at Louise and they decide to drive off the cliff."
There’s been little trust in budget negotiations lately -- and Harmon says the governor’s chief of staff plays an important role in building that trust.
Before joining Rauner's campaign staff in 2014, Goldberg was Deputy Chief of Staff for U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., and had various roles when Kirk served in the U.S. House. He was a National Security Fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and a former Congressional Scholar at the Foreign Policy Initiative. He also is a Navy Reserve intelligence officer holding the rank of Lieutenant.
Zolnierowicz -- known simply as "Z" -- was an aide to Kirk before running Rauner's campaign field operation as deputy campaign manager.
“Z is a tremendous leader and a great Chief of Staff. He has done an amazing job leading our team through some very difficult circumstances,” Rauner said. “I am grateful that he will remain a close ally and adviser.”
Zolnierowicz will leave the Administration at the end of the month.
Meanwhile, the Acting Director of the Illinois Lottery is resigning due to a significant medical issue.
According to a news release, B.R. Lane suffered complications from a recent surgery. Her resignation goes into effect immediately.
Rauner can select an acting director for up to 60 days until a permanent replacement is chosen.
Rauner asked Tim McDevitt, Deputy Director of Government Transformation & Metrics, to fill the vacancy until the position is filled.
McDevitt previously worked as a consultant. He's from Charleston, Illinois.
- Tony Arnold contributed to this story.