Blogs | Ethan Shorey

Vota heading to Raimondo's office

Rico Vota, communications and constituent affairs officer for Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien since February of 2015, has landed a new position in Gov. Gina Raimondo's office as the new "community affairs & outreach manager." He starts the new job Sept. 6.

Vota, who previously ran the successful campaign for Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea in 2014, will report to Gabe Amore, the governor's director of public engagement. Norm Birenbaum has transitioned out of Raimondo's outreach office and started a new role last week at the Department of Business Regulation overseeing the implementation of the state’s new medical marijuana regulations.

The governor is also making other staffing changes, according to a release.

• Marie Aberger has been promoted to senior communications advisor and is taking on an expanded portfolio. In this role, she will focus on message development, strategic planning, and special projects for the governor and the administration.

• Ashley Gingerella O’Shea will take on a new role in the administration as communications director at Executive Office of Health and Human Services, where she will be responsible for coordinating communications, outreach and public education efforts for the governor’s Health and Human Services Cabinet. She will work closely with the communications teams and cabinet directors at various agencies.

• David Ortiz will be joining the governor’s communications office as deputy communications director/press secretary later in September. In this role, he will be the office’s primary press contact. Ortize previously worked in Treasurer Seth Magaziner’s office and with the city of Providence.

• Sophie O’Connell, of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services, has been appointed director of executive communications at that office. She will handle Secretary Roberts’ media relations and public schedule. She will also will be tasked with leading special communications projects, including the efforts to address Rhode Island’s overdose crisis.

“Effective, accountable leadership requires strong two-way communication and engagement with the public," said Raimondo in a statement. "Our communications and outreach teams are focused on providing the public and the media with timely, accurate information and being responsive to communities’ needs. I am very happy that Marie, Ashley and Norm are stepping into new, expanded roles in my administration and I am thrilled to welcome David and Rico to the team.”

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Another $100 K a year job?