A member of the Illinois Bar, Merchant had been serving under Mayor Richard M. Daley as Deputy Director in the Mayor's Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. He was responsible for advancing the Mayor’s City Council legislative agenda, which including passage of the city’s budget, as well as assisting the city council in resolving legislative, policy and city service issues.
This was his second stint in the Mayor's Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. In between, he worked as a Director in the Chicago Public Schools Office of Intergovermental Affairs, where he lobbied on behalf of CPS concerning various matters related to local, State and Federal issues, including legislative, policy, and financial concerns. He also counseled the CEO and various departments concerning government issues and managed a department that included internal CPS employees and external contract lobbyists.more » « less