Gutierrez-Scaccetti stepping down as Murphy’s chief of staff (UPDATED)

(Editor’s Note: This story has been updated with a statement from the Governor’s Office.)

Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti is stepping down from her role as Gov. Phil Murphy’s chief of staff, ending a short but successful time in the role.

Tim Hillmann, currently serving as the governor’s principal deputy chief of staff, will assume the role of Chief of Staff later this summer, the Governor’s Office announced Tuesday in a news release confirming Gutierrez-Scaccetti’s departure.

“Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti has done an outstanding job as my chief of staff over the past year,” Murphy said in the release. “From negotiating a reauthorization of the Transportation Trust Fund to successfully enacting a Fiscal Year 2025 budget with our partners in the Legislature, Diane has brought a wealth of knowledge, experience and expertise to our team. I’ve asked her to continue serving our administration as a senior adviser to help troubleshoot some of our most pressing and challenging operational challenges — such as large-scale infrastructure projects and complex interdepartmental initiatives. I thank Diane for her service as chief of staff and look forward to her continuing to play a senior role on my team.”

Hillmann was believed to be a candidate for the position when Gutierrez-Scaccetti was selected last fall to replace George Helmy in the role.

“Tim has been a key member of my team since 2019 and has successfully overseen our legislative affairs, intergovernmental affairs, appointments and constituent relations teams, among other departments,” Murphy continued. “I am excited to have him lead our team in the Governor’s Office and advance our mission of building a stronger, fairer and more affordable New Jersey.”

Gutierrez-Scaccetti served as chief of staff for less than a year. She assumed the role last October, replacing Helmy, who moved to the private sector, taking a job with RWJBarnabas Health (though Helmy still maintains strong influence in the administration).

At the time, Gutierrez-Scaccetti was serving as the commissioner of the state Department of Transportation. She served in both roles until Murphy named Fran O’Connor as her successor at DOT in late January.

Her role as chief of staff was filled with many highlights.

On Monday, the Gateway Tunnel received its full-funding agreement from the federal government, the final financial piece of the largest transportation legacy project she has ever been a part of — as both the chief of staff and transportation commissioner.

Gutierrez-Scaccetti also worked to get the Transportation Trust Fund extended an additional five years with bipartisan support. The measure will ensure the state will continue to have millions to invest in necessary infrastructure projects.

And, last month, Gutierrez-Scaccetti was part of the team that helped the state budget get passed earlier — and with less drama — than at any time in recent memory.

Gutierrez-Scaccetti, a New Jersey native who earned a master’s degree from Rutgers in 1987, served on the New Jersey Turnpike Authority for more than two decades. She served as executive director from 2008-10, before a change in administration led to her departure during Chris Christie’s time as governor.

Gutierrez-Scaccetti served as the head of the Florida Turnpike for more than six years before Murphy made her one of his initial cabinet appointments.

She has repeatedly been heard to say she owes an eternal debt of gratitude to the governor for providing her the opportunity to live near her mother during her final years.