CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Lori Lightfoot has tapped Matthew Beaudet, a longtime top deputy at the Buildings Department as the agency’s new commissioner, making him the first Native American to lead a city department.
Beaudet had been serving as the acting commissioner since the retirement of Judy Frydland last month. He’d been the department’s first deputy commissioner since 2011, managing the agency’s day-to-day operations. Managing deputy commissioner Marlene Hopkins has been promoted to Beadet’s first deputy.
“Matthew W. Beaudet and Marlene Hopkins bring decades of experience, leadership and vision towards ensuring Chicago’s buildings, homes and workspaces remain the safest in the nation through increased accountability, sustainability and more cost-effective construction,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “This city was built on world-renowned architecture and urban design, and through these historic appointments, we are truly building on that legacy and laying the bricks for a foundation of new business, investment and development in every neighborhood.”
The mayor’s office said Beaudet has helped modernize the city’s building code and has led efforts to increase productivity and accountability in the agency. He also helped oversee the $251 million construction of a new Malcolm X College campus, and streamlined the building permit and inspection process for small businesses.
“I am deeply honored to be appointed by Mayor Lightfoot to lead this city’s buildings department and join this collective effort to help build a stronger Chicago for all neighborhoods,” Beaudet said in a statement. “Over the past several years, this Department has prided itself not only in our efforts to make it more cost-effective to build in Chicago and easier for neighborhood businesses, big and small, to obtain building permits but also ensuring we adhere to the highest level of safety standards and protections, and we look forward to doing more.”
In his private life, Beaudet is also serves on the Council of Elders for the Montaukett Tribe of Indians in Long Island, New York. He also doubles as the tribe’s legal counsel, providing pro bono legal services since 2001.
The mayor’s office said he’s also on the local school council at Lane Tech High School.
Beaudet’s appointment as Buildings Department Commissioner must be confirmed by the City Council.