Special To The Journal
Lynn Mayor-Elect Jared Nicholson has announced the first staff members that will be working in his office starting January 4, 2021. “We are thrilled about the team that is coming together,” Nicholson said. “We have a lot of ideas about how to hit the ground running and this group starts to bring in the skills we will need to make sure that happens.” Following his election, Nicholson immediately got to work putting together a Transition Committee consisting of 10 people to help him prepare for the role and find the right staff for his new administration.
A subcommittee of Magnolia Contreras, Faustina Cuevas, Charlie Gaeta, and Drew Russo has helped Nicholson interview candidates and advise him on hiring decisions. Contreras, co-chair of the Transition Committee, said, “we have been impressed by the field of candidates and the process that the Mayor-Elect has led to make these decisions.” Jon Thibault will take on the role of Chief of Staff. Thibault is currently the Chief of Staff to State Senator Brendan P. Crighton and worked as Crighton’s Legislative Director before being appointed Chief in 2019. Born and raised in Lynn, Thibault attended Lynn English High School and went on to graduate from Boston University in 2009. Jon gained extensive knowledge of Lynn’s municipal government as the Assistant to LHAND Executive Director, Charlie Gaeta. With Nicholson, Thibault will be responsible with overseeing and administering the day-to-day operations within the Mayor’s Office and will serve as the liaison between the Mayor’s Office, city department heads, and local, state, and federal officials. “I believe in Mayor Nicholson’s vision and goals for the city,” said Thibault.
“I look forward to working with him, this team, and the departments in City Hall to deliver great results for the residents of Lynn.” Jean Michael Fana, who managed Nicholson’s mayoral campaign, has been selected as the Outreach Director for the Mayor’s Office. Jean returned to Lynn last spring after serving as an Army JAG Corps Paralegal. He served as a Trial Defense Paralegal at Camp Humphreys, South Korea and later was assigned to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Jean graduated from Lynn Classical High School prior to joining the Army. Jean was Honorably Discharged at the rank of Sergeant. As the Outreach Director, Jean will be responsible for constituent services and community affairs on behalf of the office.
“Jared has given me a wonderful opportunity to continue to work directly for the people of Lynn,” said Fana. “Our goal is to make this administration active and responsive to the needs of the people and I’m excited to join the team in supporting that goal.” Valerie Vong, who was the Nicholson campaign’s Digital Director, will also be joining Mayor Nicholson’s office as Communications Manager. Vong proudly represents her Asian-American roots—especially as the eldest daughter and granddaughter of Khmer refugees. She graduated at the top of her class from Lynn English High School in 2018 with National Honor Society recognition and was an awardee of the President’s Education Program. She is currently a fourth-year first-generation college student at Clark University, pursuing a double major in English and Environmental Science, with concentrations in public policy, environmental policy, and pre-law. At school, Valerie is the Publicist of Korean Culture Club, a member of Sigma Tau Delta, a member of the Pre-Law Society, and on the e-board of Clark Sustainability Action. Outside of school, she currently interns for New American Leaders, YDMA, and MASSPIRG Students.
Valerie will work to support the Mayor’s communication efforts and ensure that all residents have access to the office so that their voices can be heard. “I had the privilege to work with Jared on the campaign trail,” said Vong. “And throughout the months I served as both an intern and the Digital Director, I was incredibly moved and inspired by his vision, tenacity, and our shared aim to uplift the city of Lynn through a more equitable approach. I look forward to continuing my work alongside Jared.” Mayor-elect Nicholson is also pleased to announce that two integral members of the current administration will continue serving after he takes office in January.
Faustina Cuevas, the City’s first Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer, assumed her position this past June and quickly established herself as a key member of the Mayor’s staff. As DEI officer, Cuevas is responsible for implementing and overseeing initiatives to ensure greater diversity, equity, and inclusion throughout city government and the community at large. Cuevas is also co-chair of the Mayor-elect’s Transition Committee tasked with advising the incoming administration. Meaghen Hamill, Chief of Staff to Mayor Thomas McGee, will be staying on for a two-month period in the role of Senior Adviser to complete the transition between the McGee and Nicholson administrations. Hamill, a Boston University graduate, has worked with Mayor McGee since 2010 rising to the position of Chief of Staff in his Senate office and serving in that capacity during his four years as Mayor.