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Mayor Satya Rhodes-Conway announced Tuesday her fifth and final pick for deputy mayor will work in the areas of sustainability, planning and climate resilience. 

Christie Baumel

Christie Baumel

Rhodes-Conway hired Christie Baumel, who will bring experience in urban sustainability to the position. Baumel most recently directed building energy programs for the Urban Sustainability Directors Network, advising and supporting local government sustainability leaders on climate, energy and equity issues. 

Rhodes-Conway described Baumel as an “innovator and a collaborator.”

“I am confident she will bring the approach Madison needs to address challenging questions around Madison’s response to climate change and ensuring all Madison residents live in healthy, thriving communities,” Rhodes-Conway said in a statement. 

She will start Sept. 3 with an annual salary of $105,976.

Baumel’s experience spans local government and nonprofit roles. 

Prior to her work at USDN, Baumel served as the climate and energy advisor for the city of Seattle, where she developed programs and policies to reduce carbon pollution from the building sector. Baumel also worked as land use planner in Snohomish County, Washington. 

Baumel received a master’s degree in urban planning from the University of Washington and a bachelor’s degree from UW-Madison in natural resources. 

When Rhodes-Conway was elected, she brought on Mary Bottari as her first deputy mayor. Bottari is serving as chief of staff. 

Baumel will join Bottari and deputy mayors Linda Vakunta, Cam McLay, Leslie Orrantia and Katie Crawley.

Vakunta is working in the area of housing and human services. She comes to the city with more than a decade of experience in grassroots community engagement and program development. 

Previously, Vakunta served as the program director at the Chicago-based Heartland Alliance International where she led, developed, and designed training programs for government, community, and non-governmental organizations to combat trafficking in persons.

Orrantia is responsible for aspects of economic development, public health, transportation and regional partnerships. Since 2016, Orrantia has held the role of director of community relations in the office of the UW-Madison chancellor. 

McLay is assisting the mayor with the city-wide initiative on performance excellence. McLay retired from the Madison Police Department as captain in 2014 and later served as the chief of police for the city of Pittsburg. 

Crawley started working for the city in 2011 under former mayor Paul Soglin’s administration as the liaison to the public works departments. She and McLay will be working half time. 

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