Chief of Staff
Mary Bottari is Mayor Rhodes-Conway's Chief of Staff. Bottari worked in the Wisconsin Senate for Sen. Lynn Adelman, then in the U.S. Senate as Press Secretary for Sen. Russ Feingold. She later worked for the national consumer group Public Citizen on a host of consumer, worker and fair trade issues, and consequently served on Madison’s Committee on Sweatfree Purchases. She joined the Center for Media and Democracy in 2009, where she helped transform the organization into an award-winning national watchdog group focusing on democracy, environment and economic justice issues. She served on the advisory board of Good Jobs First, a national policy resource center in economic development and smart growth. Bottari will serve as the Mayor’s labor and LGBTQ liaison.
Christie Baumel assists the Mayor with sustainability, planning, and climate resilience, including stormwater management. She brings a wealth of experience in urban sustainability and planning through both local government and non-profit roles. Most recently, Christie directed Building Energy programs for the Urban Sustainability Directors Network (USDN), where she advised and supported local government sustainability leaders on critical climate, energy, and equity issues. Prior to joining USDN, Christie served as Climate & Energy Advisor for the City of Seattle, developing programs and policies to reduce carbon pollution from the building sector. Christie has also worked as a local government land use planner, and she has worked on numerous community development and environmental protection programs. She has a Master’s degree from the University of Washington in Urban Planning and a Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Natural Resources.
Katie Crawley continues to serve Mayor Rhodes-Conway after serving as Deputy Mayor for Public Works and Communication under the previous administration. She will continue to work with Parks, Streets, Fleet and Monona Terrace collaborating on policies, practices and operations of those agencies. Her work will also involve collaboration with City staff and community organizations sponsoring and planning festivals and events in the City. She will also assist the Mayor with communications. Prior to her work at the City, she served in the office of U. S. Senator Russ Feingold for 18 years representing and staffing him in 8 counties, including Dane County. With a degree in Journalism, she worked as a broadcast journalist at a number of radio stations in the mid-west, including in Madison.
Dr. Linda Vakunta
Dr. Linda Vakunta joins the Mayor’s Office to assist with housing and human services with more than a decade of experience in grassroots community engagement and program development, monitoring and evaluation work. She served as Program Director at the Chicago-based Heartland Alliance International (HAI), where she led, developed, and designed training programs for government, community, and non-governmental organizations to combat trafficking in persons. In recent years, she has worked as a researcher with Sustaining Natural Circle’s CDC funded grant on understanding impacts of opioid use among African American women in Madison. Dr. Vakunta is a founder and executive director of a Wisconsin-based non-profit called Project 1808. She was instrumental in the growth, success, and global-local recognition of the group as an important player in transforming lives, enabling youth and adults, and building capacity in Sierra Leone through School-Community-University Partnership Models. She holds a PhD in Environmental Studies, a Master’s Degree in Rehabilitation Psychology and a Bachelor’s Degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Deputy Mayor Reuben Sanon most recently served as the Communications and Diversity Strategist in the City of Sun Prairie, working closely with neighborhood navigators to engage and empower underserved communities. Previously, he served as a Program Director at the Morgridge Center for Public Service, pairing students with community organizations, creating, managing and maintaining relationships with 90+ community partner organizations across Dane County and presenting at state and national conferences on civic engagement best practices. Reuben speaks French and Portuguese and is a graduate of Madison's West High School and the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Jessica Price, PhD.
Sustainability and Resilience Manager
Dr. Jessica Price works to develop and implement policies, programs and strategies that advance climate resilience, sustainability and environmental justice in Madison. With an interdisciplinary background, Jessica brings expertise in natural and social sciences, policy and community engagement. She has extensive experience leading collaborative efforts to develop innovative and equitable solutions to large-scale challenges affecting both people and the environment. Prior to joining the Mayor’s Office, Jessica served as Renewable Energy Strategy Lead for the Nature Conservancy in New York, where she led efforts to catalyze the transition to renewable energy and improve climate resilience. Jessica has a PhD in Landscape Ecology and an MS in Conservation Biology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was a National Science Foundation Integrative Graduate Education and Research Fellow and a Doris Duke Conservation Fellow.
Executive Assistant to Mayor
- Manage Mayor’s schedule and calendar
- Provide administrative support to Mayor
- Accounts payable
- Manage appointments to City boards, committees, and commissions
- Sister City Collaboration Committee
Mayoral Office Clerk
Liaison for resident inquiries and requests; recognition requests; contract routing process; general database support for boards, committees and commissions; record coordinator; Employee Assistance Program facilitator; administrative support to Chief of Staff and Deputy Mayors.
Mayoral Office Clerk
Front desk reception; support to Chief of Staff and Deputy Mayors with scheduling, communications and administrative tasks; support to Sister Cities Coordination Committee.