PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Mayor-elect Brett Smiley will be bringing several former Elorza administration staffers back to City Hall when his new administration takes over in January.

Smiley has tapped Emily Crowell — who was a top aide on the campaign and currently runs his transition — as chief of staff when he’s sworn in as mayor.

Crowell was Elorza’s communications director for nearly six years before departing City Hall to serve as communications director and chief of staff to R.I. Education Commissioner Angélica Infante-Green, a position she left late last year.

Patricia Socarras, a former Elorza press secretary who most recently served as communications director for Congressman-elect Seth Magaziner’s campaign, has been named Smiley’s communications director. A press secretary has not yet been named.

Smiley has also tapped fellow Raimondo administration alum Courtney Hawkins as his chief operating officer, a job Smiley held at the start of the Elorza administration.

Hawkins most recently worked at Salesforce, but prior to that served as director of the R.I Department of Human Services under Gov. Gina Raimondo and then Gov. Dan McKee. She also previously worked for Elorza as policy director.

Matt Shumate, another former Elorza staffer, is returning to City Hall to be deputy chief of staff after working on the gubernatorial campaign of Democrat Helena Foulkes.

Smiley has been interviewing potential staffers for months after naming his transition team back in October. He had a jump-start on the process over other new officeholders, since he had no opponent in the November election after winning the September Democratic primary.

The incoming mayor has not yet said who will lead the city’s police and public safety departments. On a taping of WPRI 12’s Newsmakers last Friday, Smiley said he was in the process of hiring department directors but has not yet interviewed Col. Hugh Clements or Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré.

Smiley said staff announcements will continue to roll out over the next two weeks.

“Our team has spent the past few months interviewing hundreds of people for positions throughout the city in order to build the best team who will run the best-run city in the country,” Smiley said Monday. “It’s incredibly important to me that we continue to surround ourselves with folks that are dedicated to improving education, increasing safety and improving city services across Providence.”

Smiley is slated to be inaugurated as mayor on Jan. 2 at the Providence Public Library.

Smiley also announced several other staff hires:

  • David Santilli as Director of Digital Communications
  • Michael Napolitano as Deputy Director of Intergovernmental Affairs
  • Shastery Gonzalez Peña as Executive Assistant to the Mayor
  • Brian Guzman as Mayoral Advance
  • Laura Perez as Constituent Service Representative
  • Dorian Griffin as Mayor’s Scheduler
  • Alejandra De Paz as Mayor’s Office Manager
  • Samara Pinto as Communications Associate

Steph Machado ( is a Target 12 investigative reporter covering Providence, politics and more for 12 News. Connect with her on Twitter and on Facebook.