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Former Clinton staffer, privitization attorney to head Emanuel’s finance team

Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM

The worst financial crisis in Chicago history will be tackled by a dynamic duo of women.

Sources said Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel has chosen longtime friend and former White House colleague Lois Scott to serve as the city’s new chief financial officer.

The majority owner of Scott Balice Strategies, Scott will be teamed with attorney Alexandra Holt, who will serve as the city’s new budget director.

Holt served under her mentor, former Budget Director Bill Abolt. When Abolt was forced out by Mayor Daley in 2004 after the Chicago Sun-Times blew the lid off the Hired Truck scandal, Holt got her law degree at the University of Chicago.

She is now an attorney specializing in infrastructure privatization for the law firm of Baker & McKenzie LLC. She advised the group that tried to acquire Midway Airport before the deal collapsed for lack of financing. Emanuel has said he has no plans to privatize Midway.

Scott and Emanuel have known each other since their days together in the Clinton White House. She was a White House fellow. He was a Clinton policy chief.

In 2003 — after stints at DLJ, now Credit Suisse, and Bank of America — she co-founded a firm that provides strategic financial advice to state and local governments across the country.

Civic Federation President Laurence Msall said Scott and Holt are “experienced and talented financial people” uniquely qualified to confront a financial crisis that will make or break Emanuel depending on how well it is handled.

Despite a slight uptick in revenues, the city remains on the brink of bankruptcy with a structural deficit approaching $1 billion when under-funded employee pensions are factored in.

“In order to stabilize the city’s finances, it’s going to take a massive re-invention of what are the priority services the city will continue to deliver and the elimination of all non-essential services. Even essential services like garbage will have to be modernized to reflect much more economical systems and less staff,” Msall said.

Neither Scott nor Holt could be reached for comment. Both women have reputations for being driven and tough as nails.

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