Staffing Michael Nutter’s Second Term

Will key staffers like Rina Cutler and and Don Schwarz stay for round two?

For presidents and mayors, second terms often mean a reshuffling of the deck when it comes to administration personnel. So as he’s reelected this month, is Michael Nutter likely to ask for resignations from any high-level members of his team?

Don’t bet on it, according to two of the Mayor’s confidants. Nutter really likes his top assistants, the insiders say; perhaps more to the point, dramatic change isn’t in his nature. Still, he has a concern: that coveted lieutenants will leave on their own.

Tops on the list could be Don Schwarz, Nutter’s health czar. “When you think where he came from, as head of pediatrics at CHOP, he’s making a tremendous personal sacrifice,” says a Nutter insider. “But the Mayor will try to hold onto him.”

Rina Cutler, the deputy mayor who has her hand in airport expansion and waterfront development, among other projects, was on New York Governor Andrew Cuomo’s short list as he filled out his staff in January—Nutter’s worry with her, says the insider, is that at some point a juicy offer elsewhere will lure her away.

And then there’s the natural burnout, given how a 24/7 high-level city-government job fragments home life. On October 19th, Nutter announced that deputy mayor for public safety Everett Gillison would become his new chief of staff, replacing Suzanne Biemiller (who’d been interim chief since May).

Biemiller, who has two daughters, says the position—which involves, among other things, fielding Nutter’s e-mails 18 hours a day—meant too much time away from her family. (She’s staying on as Gillison’s deputy.)

Despite those changes, the administration’s track record might bode well for future stability. Remember the Mayor’s national job search for top talent when he was making his first big hires? It brought us Steve Agostini and Andy Altman and Camille Barnett to serve as budget director and planning czar and managing director. All were veterans of Washington—and all left mid-term. With most of the high-level talent in Nutter’s administration now culled locally, perhaps he’ll get his wish for second-term stability. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing is a different question.