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Former chief of staff Rich Guidice weighs in on Mayor Johnson's progress, challenges

Former chief of staff Rich Guidice weighs in on challenges Mayor Johnson is facing
Former chief of staff Rich Guidice weighs in on challenges Mayor Johnson is facing 03:05

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Rich Guidice was a trusted adviser and staffer to four Chicago mayors.

But 10 months into working for Mayor Brandon Johnson, Guidice decided to hang up his hat as a civil servant. He took his 34 years of City Hall experience with him, having also worked—in reverse chronological order—for mayors Lori Lightfoot, Rahm Emanuel, and Richard M. Daley.

Guidice had previously retired as head of the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications days before the 2023 mayoral runoff election, but shortly after Johnson was elected, he picked Guidice as his chief of staff.

He said he left City Hall on good terms.

When asked why he left when he did, Guidice said he told Mayor Johnson he would "stick around for one year."

Guidice was also how he would compare the state of the city today to the past three decades and the prior three mayors.

"Every administration anywhere, you're going to cross that intersection of major challenges," Guidice said, "how they handled it, how they responded, how they communicated, ultimately is how everybody will be judged on it. So I think this mayor is one year in. We still have three years to go."

Guidice said he did not hesitate to give advice to the mayor.

"I feel that I certainly was part of his inner circle that was able to give him, certainly, my opinion—which I wasn't shy about; certainly my advice," he said. "So I was one person at the table. There were certainly many others that have his ear."

But did the mayor listen to his advice? His remark conveyed that perhaps at times he was listened to, and at times he was not.

"I think like anybody; like any leader that you're going to have, you're going to take advice from a multiple of different people, and at the end of the day, the decision's going to be yours," Guidice said.

Mayor Johnson has been criticized for thus far not being as collaborative or transparent as he said he would be during his campaign. He was also criticized early on for not being accessible.

"Being a year into his mayoral term, you know, we'll see what some of the things that he thinks that he could have done better. In the next three years, we'll see if he pivots and makes some changes in some of the stuff you are mentioning," Guidice said. "I think he's a people person. I think he is labor responsive."

Is Mayor Johnson listening to the business community?

"I think the business community relationship is something he probably has circled for attention for the next three years," Guidice said.

Guidice said in terms of City Hall's inner workings, he feels morale is better—and he believes the city is trending in the right direction.

Guidice is also still volunteering to help the city with planning for the Democratic National Convention. He says a structure is already in place, and he thinks the city will be ready.

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