David Escobar describes his role as private secretary to Medellín Mayor Sergio Fajardo and his strategy for reducing violence and bringing about improvements to the city’s complicated problems. He relates how the mayor introduced a package of social interventions such as education, health, public works, and urban transformation. He also describes the process of tackling corruption and getting a development plan approved by the City Council. He specifically highlights the importance of City Hall’s public communication program. He recalls efforts to work with the teachers to implement education reform rather than making demands or ostracizing them. Escobar lists four qualities that he looked for in his staff: knowledge, honesty, social sensitivity, and passion. He describes a process of prioritization, whereby the mayor chose to focus on 13 large projects and develop a simple monitoring system to ensure their completion, instead of pursuing many smaller ones.
At the time of this interview, David Escobar was manager of Sergio Fajardo’s presidential campaign in Colombia. Previously, he served as private secretary during Fajardo’s mayoral administration in Medellín. During that time, he led the office that controlled and directed strategic projects. He also served as the de facto chief of staff.