43rd Ward Staff

Erik Wallenius, Chief of Staff

Erik Wallenius, our Chief of Staff, brings experience from government operations at the state and local level to the office.  He oversees 43rd Ward Aldermanic staff and advises me on matters of strategic communications, community outreach, public policy, legislative affairs, public and private infrastructure, local development, education, and open space matters.

If you would like to reach Erik, please contact him by clicking here.

Joana Zaidan, Director of Zoning and Urban Development

Joana manages the 43rd Ward development portfolio, including permit and procedural matters, and reviews all zoning related materials as well as business-related matters such as license applications, public right of way applications, signage requests and sidewalk cafes.

If you would like to reach Joana, please contact her by clicking here.

Sheila Pacione, Director of Constituent Services and Infrastructure

Sheila manages the 43rd Ward constituent services and partners with residents to solve emerging problems in the ward. Sheila coordinates item review and funding allocation for all ‘Menu’ plans in the 43rd Ward. The menu dollars consist of the $1.32 million dollars assigned to each of the 50 wards in the City of Chicago for improvements to infrastructure. She assists residents contacting my office who have concerns regarding construction, sanitation, and quality of life matters.

If you would like to reach Sheila, please contact her by clicking here.

Rocio Varela, Director of Communications & Scheduler

Rocio Varela manages the external communications for our office: press relations and our newsletter which reaches around 25,000 people. Rocio is our local 18th and 19th District Police Liaison and can help residents who have concerns regarding public safety. Rocio is also well experienced with assisting with homeless services and emergency housing. Rocio also manages policy and legislation research along with my Chief of Staff, and Community Relations Coordinator.

If you would like to reach Rocio, please contact her here.

Margaret Gaecke (Maggie), Manager of Operations & Logistics

Margaret Gaecke oversee’s our Internship Program, our front desk management–including the management of Residential Guest Parking Passes (RPPs) for our office–and general office management.  Margaret also oversees all scheduling inquiries.

If you would like to reach Margaret, please contact her here.

McKay Murphy, Community Relations Coordinator

McKay Murphy manages our community outreach to our local neighborhood groups, Chamber of Commerce, Local SSA’s and various business partners. This also includes work on special events, events with community partners, and senior events throughout the Ward. McKay also manages our Ward Night protocol, aides in zoning administrative issues and business affairs, and helps research and develop various legislation and policy.

If you would like to reach McKay, please contact him here.

43rd Ward Academic Internship

We are privileged to have many wonderful and hard-working interns assisting our office in matters of constituent service, business outreach, public policy, and legislative research.

If you are interested in pursuing an internship with our office, please contact us directly by clicking here.