Former Cianci campaign aide Cyd McKenna to serve as City Council chief of staff

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Buddy Cianci might not be the mayor of Providence, but his former campaign manager has landed a job in City Hall.

Cyd McKenna, a Hope High School graduate with an extensive background in urban planning, confirmed Tuesday she has accepted a position as chief of staff to the Providence City Council. She said her first day on the job is Nov. 16.

“I’m really excited about working with the Providence City Council, a group who represents the heart and soul of Providence’s neighborhoods,” McKenna told WPRI.com. “I look forward to working collaboratively to move Providence forward, improving quality of life and access to opportunity for city residents from all walks of life.”

McKenna, who owns a home on Bainbridge Avenue, served as Cianci’s campaign manager during the former mayor’s unsuccessful bid to return to City Hall last year. Earlier this year, she worked for the owners of the Pawtucket Red Sox as they tried to convince state and city leaders to build them a new stadium in downtown Providence.

The website GoLocalProv first reported on McKenna’s hiring.

Yvonne Graf, who had served as the council’s acting chief of staff, will be assigned to lead the council’s newly created legislative affairs and intergovernmental relations division. She has worked for the city since 2000.

“Yvonne has the depth of knowledge and understanding about the challenges Providence faces, and for many years has worked for the City Council extensively researching, drafting legislation, and building consensus for legislative initiatives, including affordable housing, tax stabilization policy, nightlife venue licensing, and public safety, to name a few,” Council President Luis Aponte said in a statement.

Aponte, who was elected president of the city’s 15-member, all-Democratic legislative body in January, has long signaled he had plans to grow the council staff.

The council’s budget grew to $4.6 million at the beginning of the fiscal year, a 13% increase from the previous year. Aponte has said he also intends to hire a press secretary before the end of the year.

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Dan McGowan ( dmcgowan@wpri.com ) covers politics, education and the city of Providence for WPRI.com. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @danmcgowan

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