SAN FRANCISCO—San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee appointed on May 25 that Jason Elliott would become the new Chief of Staff replacing Steve Kawa. According to a press release from the Mayor’s Office, Kawa is retiring at the end of June after 25 years of service with the city and county of San Francisco.
“Steve has helped shape the policies and the values of this City for the better,” said Mayor Lee. “He has worked tirelessly on the City’s emergency disaster responses to ensure all residents are safe, led countless labor negotiations, and ensured the long-term financial stability of the City through pension reform. Steve was the calm amongst many storms. We are lucky to have had such a compassionate and brave public servant.”
Elliott has served as Deputy Chief of Staff for Mayor Lee since 2014. He has assisted with leadership on key policy initiatives, including efforts to raise San Francisco’s minimum wage, launch the Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing and create neighborhood Fix-It teams.
“Jason has worked closely with me since I became Mayor in 2011,” said Mayor Lee. “There is no person better prepared and better trained to bring continuity and steady progress toward my priorities. He is a tireless worker and an effective communicator, and I know that he will bring a determined enthusiasm and commitment to this position every day.”
He served as the Mayor’s Liaison to the Board of Supervisors and Director of Government Affairs from 2011 to 2014. He was a Policy Advisor under former SF Mayor Gavin Newsom from 2009 to 2011.
“I’m excited about this opportunity and I look forward to addressing the many important issues facing our City today,” said Elliott. “I know that I have big shoes to fill, but I’m fortunate to be able to rely on the support of so many talented colleagues and department heads. Together, we are ready to carry out the vision of the Mayor and work to make San Francisco a better place for all.”
Kawa served under Mayor Lee, Mayor Newsom and Mayor Brown, and started his career at the City and County of San Francisco in 1991, where he worked as a Legislative Aide to former Supervisor Tom Hsieh. He helped guide San Francisco through difficult times including the Great Recession and the aftermath of 9/11, and marriage equality and universal healthcare access. He helped oversee unprecedented investments in affordable housing and infrastructure projects.
“It has been a great honor to work on behalf of the City I love for so many years,” said Kawa. “I am incredibly grateful to have worked alongside so many passionate and dedicated employees and to have served under Mayors Brown, Newsom and Lee, all of whom I respect deeply. I have built important relationships and made countless friends. Above all, I am proud of our collective efforts to make this City an inclusive, fair and just place for San Franciscans.”