Top Elorza aide leaving for job at Providence Housing Authority

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Peter Asen, a top aide to Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, is leaving his job in City Hall.

Asen, the mayor’s director of partnerships and intergovernmental affairs, is scheduled to transition to a position with the Providence Housing Authority beginning Jan. 22, according to Victor Morente, a spokesperson for the city.

Asen has worked for the city since 2012, leading then-Mayor Angel Taveras’s office on healthy communities before transitioning to director of partnerships and development under Elorza. He was assigned to oversee legislative affairs in 2016.

A Brown University graduate who earned a master’s degree from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Asen previously served as a policy analyst with the R.I. House of Representatives, a campaign coordinator with the state Democratic Party and as the executive director of Ocean State Action, a union-backed advocacy group that has since folded.

The Providence Housing Authority announced last month its executive director, former state Treasurer Paul J. Tavares, planned to retire. Melissa Sanzaro became head of the agency of Monday. The authority owns and manages 2,600 units of public housing and administers approximately 2,600 units of Section 8 housing.

Elorza’s office has not named a replacement for Asen in City Hall, although deputy director Matt Shumate will presumably continue to manage the relationship between the mayor and the City Council. Michael Solomon, the former City Council president who is now a senior aide to Elorza, is expected to spend more time at the State House this 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