By Ted Nesi and Dan McGowan
Providence Mayor Angel Taveras is losing two of his top aides just as he embarks on a run for governor.
Arianne Lynch, the mayor’s deputy chief of staff since a December 2011 shakeup, and Matt Jerzyk, the city’s deputy city solicitor, tendered their resignations on Wednesday “to pursue professional opportunities outside city government,” Taveras spokesman David Ortiz confirmed in response to an inquiry from WPRI.com.
Lynch’s last day will be Nov. 30. Jerzyk will remain in the solicitor’s office through the end of the year.
Neither Lynch nor Jerzyk is leaving to take a position on the mayor’s gubernatorial campaign team, Taveras campaign spokesman Peter Baptista told WPRI.com. The mayor kicked off his campaign on Monday. WPRI.com revealed Wednesday that Taveras has hired Danny Kedem as his campaign manager.
Lynch supported Taveras for mayor and served as spokeswoman for his transition team between his election and inauguration. She was a managing director at Advocacy Solutions, the lobbying and PR firm, before going to City Hall, where she worked under the mayor’s powerful chief of staff, Michael D’Amico.
“I thank Arianne for her service to the city of Providence and for the integral role she has played in the Mayor’s Office as we have worked to put our city on the path to a brighter future,” Taveras said in a statement. “Arianne possesses tremendous talent, energy and passion and she cares deeply about our community.”
“Arianne is one of the brightest political, policy and PR thinkers in the game,” Robert Walsh, executive director of the National Education Association Rhode Island, wrote on Twitter after the news broke.
Jerzyk is credited with playing a central role in Taveras’s 2010 victory in the Providence mayoral race, where he defeated City Council President John Lombardi and former House Finance Chairman Steven Costantino in a Democratic primary, winning 49% of the vote. In the general election, Taveras cruised to victory over independent Jonathan Scott, winning each of the city’s 15 wards.
After serving as the mayor’s director of policy and municipal affairs until June 2012, Jerzyk was appointed deputy city solicitor. He is credited with assisting with the city’s flavored tobacco ordinance – and the resulting litigation – as well as the creation of Providence’s nuisance task force.
In political circles, Jerzyk is best known as the founder of Rhode Island’s Future, the progressive political blog now owned by Bob Plain.
“I thank Matt for his service both in the mayor’s office and in the office of the city solicitor,” Taveras said in a statement. “Matt has brought deep intelligence, energy and commitment to our efforts to address tough challenges and improve the lives of Providence’s residents. I am proud of the work we have accomplished together and wish him all the best in his future endeavors.”
Taveras was in Washington on Wednesday to hold a fundraiser for his nascent campaign. The mayor had been in Providence earlier in the day to receive the endorsement of the State Association of Fire Fighters.
This report has been updated.