Raimondo Announces David Ortiz as New Chief of Staff

Brett Smiley Named as Acting Director of Administration

Former Senate Majority Leader Dan Connors to Join Governor’s Office as Senior Advisor


PROVIDENCE, RI- Governor Gina M. Raimondo named Senior Advisor David Ortiz as her new Chief of Staff. The Governor’s current Chief of Staff, Brett Smiley, will become the Acting Director of Administration following DOA Director Mike DiBiase’s departure in early January. Former Senate Majority Leader Dan Connors will join the Governor’s team as her new Senior Advisor.


“It’s an honor to work for a Governor who spends every day fighting to expand opportunity for all Rhode Islanders,” said David Ortiz. “Rhode Island has come a long way in the past five years, and we know there’s a lot more work to do. I look forward to hitting the ground running in my new role as Chief of Staff.”


David Ortiz has served as the Governor’s Senior Advisor for the past year, where he oversaw the office’s community outreach efforts, coordinated with local, statewide, and federal officeholders, and helped lead efforts to expand education and job training opportunities across Rhode Island. Prior to that, David has held senior leadership positions in the administrations of former Providence Mayor Angel Taveras, Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza, and General Treasurer Seth Magaziner. David joined the Governor’s Office in 2016 as Press Secretary and went on to serve as Deputy Campaign Manager for the Governor’s successful 2018 re-election campaign.


Beginning next year, Brett Smiley will serve as Acting Director of Administration following Director DiBiase’s departure. DiBiase has previously been announced as the new President and CEO of the Rhode Island Public Expenditure Council (RIPEC). After assuming the role, Smiley will conduct an assessment of the Department’s needs and begin a search process for a permanent Director.


Brett Smiley has been the Governor’s Chief of Staff since 2016, during which time he has managed three budget proposals and worked to ensure the passage of key pieces of legislation, from gun safety measures to health care protections and more. Brett has decades of managerial experience as a small business owner and public servant. He served the last three Providence mayors, most recently as Chief Operating Officer for Mayor Jorge Elorza.


“I’m proud of all we’ve accomplished over the past few years, and I’m looking forward to leading the Department of Administration through this next transition,” said Brett Smiley.


In addition, former Senate Majority Leader Dan Connors will be joining the Governor’s Office as Senior Advisor. Dan was first elected to the Rhode Island Senate in 1996 at the age of 20. He was elected Senate Majority Leader in 2008 and served through 2011. In the years since, he has worked as a government relations consultant and served as counsel in the renewable energy, healthcare, facility service, and hospitality industries. Dan is currently Senior Counsel at Duffy & Sweeney.


“It’s been exciting to watch Governor Raimondo bring meaningful change to Rhode Island over the last five years,” said Dan Connors. “Because of her efforts, we’ve seen a new era of economic growth and mobility, and I’m thrilled to be a part of her team.”


Dan Connors will start on Monday, December 16 and will be paid $166,653. David Ortiz and Brett Smiley will begin transitioning to their new jobs immediately and will assume the roles at the beginning of the new year. Smiley will be paid $155,000 as Acting Director and Ortiz will be paid $185,565 as Chief of Staff.


Below is an email sent by Governor Raimondo to the Governor’s Office staff :


As we enter the holiday season, I want to thank you once again for your continued service and dedication to the State of Rhode Island. Because of your efforts, there are a record number of jobs in Rhode Island; we’ve provided job training and tuition-free higher education to thousands of Rhode Islanders; we’re expanding Pre-K and making record investments in K-12; and we’re protecting healthcare, lowering premiums, and maintaining some of the highest insured rates in the country. None of this would have been possible without your hard work and commitment to creating a stronger Rhode Island, and I’m grateful for everything you do.


As we continue building on this work, I’m excited to announce that David Ortiz will be taking the helm as our new Chief of Staff. Over the past few years, David has been an invaluable member of this team and has shown himself to be a thoughtful and respected public servant. I look forward to all we’ll accomplish under his leadership.


I’m also thrilled to announce that, beginning next year, Brett Smiley will be heading to DOA as Acting Director. It would be impossible to list out Brett’s many accomplishments since joining this team more than three years ago. Brett has led us through three difficult budgets, helped secure the passage of key pieces of legislation, and inspired us all to work hard, day-in and day-out, for the people of Rhode Island. We will miss having Brett’s guidance, his sincerity, and his humor just down the hall, but I know he’s the right person to lead DOA through this next transition.


Finally, I’m excited to welcome Dan Connors to our team, who will be taking over David’s role as our new Senior Advisor. Dan was elected to the Rhode Island Senate at the age of 20 and went on to serve as Senate Majority Leader until 2011. In the years since, he has built and maintained strong relationships with Rhode Island leaders in both the public and private sector as a government relations consultant. I know Dan will continue to be an effective advocate for the people of Rhode Island, and I’m glad to have him on the team.

Governor Gina M. Raimondo