Melissa Orsen Named Chief of Staff at DCA

TRENTON - New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Acting Commissioner Lori Grifa today named Melissa Orsen as DCA's new Chief of Staff.

"Melissa brings a wealth of knowledge about the Department of Community Affairs to her new post as Chief of Staff," Acting Commissioner Grifa said. "Her insight of the Department and the people who work here will truly be an asset during this time of change in Trenton."

As Chief of Staff, Ms. Orsen will handle a broad range of responsibilities including acting as the Commissioner's liaison on intergovernmental and legislative affairs, serving as the key contact for elected officials and legislators throughout the state, and overseeing several divisions throughout the Department.

"I am honored that Acting Commissioner Grifa has asked me to serve in this important role," Ms. Orsen said. "I look forward to moving Governor Christie's ambitious agenda forward and am eager to get to work in making the Department of Community Affairs the best resource it can be for the people who live and work in this State."

Prior to becoming Chief of Staff, Ms. Orsen served as Chief Counsel for the New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing (COAH), an affiliate of the DCA. As Chief Counsel, she responded to all constituent questions on the regulatory process for affordable housing and acted as the legal liaison with the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office and the outside legal community. Ms. Orsen also oversaw the motion practice at COAH and conducted mediation with municipalities, developers, objectors and residents in the community. Earlier in her professional career, she was a Deputy Attorney General for the State of New Jersey where she represented numerous government agencies, including the Departments of Community Affairs, Labor, Personnel and the Administrative Office of the Courts.

Ms. Orsen holds a Juris Doctorate from Widener University School of Law and a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Delaware.