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Rahm Emanuel picks two former Daley aides for transition team

David Mosenpresident CEO Museum Science Industry Sarah Pang senior vice-president corporate communications public affairs CNA will lead Rahm Emanuel's six-member

David Mosena, president and CEO of the Museum of Science and Industry, and Sarah Pang, senior vice-president of corporate communications and public affairs at CNA, will lead Rahm Emanuel's six-member transition team.

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Updated: May 28, 2011 4:50AM

Two of Mayor Daley’s former top aides, a former state lawmaker and a South Side minister agreed Thursday to join a transition team that will help Rahm Emanuel ease into the job as Chicago’s new mayor.

David Mosena, president and CEO of the Museum of Science and Industry, was an all-purpose mayoral trouble-shooter who served Daley as chief of staff, planning and aviation commissioner and CTA president.

Sarah Pang is a senior vice-president at commercial insurer CNA who served as Daley’s deputy chief of staff and point-person with the Police and Fire Departments.

The transition team co-chairs also include: former state Rep. Judy Erwin (D-Chicago); Byron Brazier, pastor of the Apostolic Church of God; Steve Koch, vice-chairman at Credit Suisse; Rebecca Gonzalez, vice-president of programs for Casa Central and Felicia Davis, vice-president of administration at Kendall College.

“There are people here who are experienced hands. They know city government. That’s invaluable. There are also people here who ... have a fresh set of ideas, a fresh level of energy,” Emanuel said.

“I want that blend of somebody [who] knows their way around and somebody [who is] not burdened by knowing their way around.”

Emanuel said the group would focus on seven primary areas: economic development and planning; education; budget and government re-invention; public safety and consumer protection; transportation and infrastructure; environment and public space; and arts and culture.

“Is the budget for each department set up the way it should? Is it achieving its goal? Is there a better way to do it? ... Who are the people to lead these agencies?” Emanuel asked, posing questions that will be answered in a transition report he promised to make public.

By avoiding a runoff, Emanuel has nearly three months to assume the reins of city government from his political mentor.

The mayor-elect said he planned to use that “longer runway” to educate Chicagoans on the perilous state of city finances “so they understand later on as I make choices why I made those choices.”

Chicago is literally on the brink of bankruptcy, with a $1 billion-a-year structural deficit including under-funded employee pensions.

Emanuel called Pang “a gold mine” of information.

She managed the city’s response to the 1993 school shutdown, the 1994 World Cup and 1995 heat crisis. She launched the undercover police investigation that culminated in Daley’s $433 million lawsuit against the gun industry. She presided over the 1997 search for a new police superintendent that ended in the surprise appointment of Terry Hillard — who Emanuel said did a “tremendous job.”

Pang also chaired a commission that recommended cost-cutting ideas to Daley, many of them not yet implemented. That could help Emanuel to quickly identify the $75 million in cuts that Emanuel has promised to make to Daley’s final budget.

Mosena’s background running several city departments and agencies will also be pivotal.

He can assist in negotiations with major airlines now suing the city to block the city from completing Mayor Daley’s signature project — the massive runway expansion program at O’Hare Airport.

As a former chief of staff, Mosena can help Emanuel assemble a cabinet. As a museum CEO, he can advise the mayor-elect on the arts. As a former CTA president, Mosena can also help Emanuel get a handle on a burgeoning financial crisis at the mass transit agency.

Emanuel said he’s well aware of the political culture driven by the infamous slogan, “We don’t want nobody nobody sent.” But, it will not guide the hiring in his new administration.

“The people who sent me are the voters. Very clear. They voted for reform. They voted for change,” he said.

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