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Ald. Moreno's Social Media Staffer Moves On

By Alisa Hauser | September 25, 2015 9:19am
 (l.) Belia Portillo and Ald. Joe Moreno (1st).
(l.) Belia Portillo and Ald. Joe Moreno (1st).
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Moreno (Ted Cox); Portillo (Provided)

WICKER PARK — A staffer for Ald. Joe Moreno (1st) has moved on from managing the Wicker Park alderman's Facebook and social media presence and shared some words on her now former gig in her "exit memo."

"There is something unique about street-level politics. It puts us in direct contact with the community, and at the front lines of the barrage of complaints and philosophical disagreements with the city’s policies," Belia Portillo wrote in her exit memo.

The 23-year-old Logan Square resident, who described the day she got hired in the 1st Ward office as the best moment of her professional life, resigned last Friday after working in Moreno's 1st Ward office for about 18 months, beginning as an intern in January 2014.

Moreno and his Chief of Staff Raymond Valadez did not respond to requests for comment about Portillo's departure or who will take over her social media duties.

In her exit memo, Portillo thanked Valadez "for demonstrating excellence in leadership, and a tenacity for his work which has offered an inspiration and vision for my own personal success going forward."

The longest-tenured member of Moreno's team, Valadez has worked for the alderman since 2010 when Moreno was appointed by then-mayor Richard M. Daley. Prior to Moreno, Valadez also worked for Moreno's predecessor Manny Flores.

Portillo did not mention Moreno in her memo.

Portillo, who said she is currently interviewing for other jobs and contemplating joining the Peace Corps, replaced Matt Bailey, who left Moreno's office last summer. Bailey's departure came just a few months before the 2015 aldermanic campaign, where Moreno retained his seat by winning 51 percent of the vote.

The 1st Ward runs through parts of Wicker Park, Logan Square, Ukrainian Village, East Village and Humboldt Park.

Portillo, who lives in Logan Square, has not completely exited from politics. On Thursday, Portillo said she is helping state Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-39th) in his re-election campaign and also plans to host a debate viewing party on Oct. 13 to support U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), who is vying for the Democratic nomination for president.

Moreno is known for being a social media savvy alderman. Portillo, who earned $24,996 per year according to the City's employee roster, managed Moreno's social media presence among several other duties including writing Moreno's e-newsletter.

While Moreno enjoys using Facebook and often messages constituents directly, Portillo worked with Moreno's Twitter account, which has more than 7,550 followers.

At the end of her note, Portillo shares some wisdom gleaned from her time being what she called the "voice of the alderman."

Portillo reminds her coworkers that service request come in the form of tweets, Facebook messages, direct emails, Everyblock posts and "even in the comment section of news articles."

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