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Mayor Emanuel announced today that he has appointed Michael P. Kelly as Superintendent for the Chicago Park District.
“We conducted a nationwide search, and found the best candidate among our own ranks,” said Mayor Emanuel. “During his time as interim superintendent, Mike has displayed solid leadership and a focus on reform. He has taken steps to reduce senior management by 20 percent and for 2012 will implement departmental consolidations and staff reductions at the central office which will save $1.5 million in taxpayer dollars.”
Kelly has also employed new technology designed to boost efficiency, increase accountability, and foster better communication between central administration and park staff. Previously, Kelly held the position of Chief Operating Officer for the District since 2007. During this time, he led the development of the District’s long term capital investment program, prioritizing $350 million in park design and construction projects. These efforts include the completion of LEED certified field houses, ADA compliant playgrounds, new beach houses and the extensive restoration of Chicago’s Buckingham Fountain. Prior to serving as Chief Operating Officer, he held positions as both First Deputy General Counsel and Director of Intergovernmental and Community Affairs.
In addition to announcing Kelly as Superintendent and CEO, Mayor Emanuel announced two other critical positions that will help with the reorganization at the Chicago Park District’s Administrative Office. Vaughn Bryant, who serves as the Deputy Officer for Safety and Security for the Chicago Public Schools, will join the District as Chief Programming Officer. Matt Marino has been named Deputy Chief Programming Officer. With a re-emphasis on programming, the Chicago Park District will move 60 administrative positions out of the central office and disburse them throughout the Parks system to better serve residents in communities across the city.
“We've made these tough choices in order to invest in better program offerings, customer service and staff training,” said Superintendent Kelly. “And I am no stranger to the Parks,” said Kelly, who spent his formative years in Chicago parks and has visited all 580 of the District’s parks to date. “I am in Chicago’s parks nearly 7 days per week, either as an employee or a parent.”
Kelly earned a JD from DePaul College of Law in Chicago, and a BA in Political Science from John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. He is married, and the father of four children. He and his family reside in the West Morgan Park community.
The Mayor also announced the private donation of $2 million by Brian Gamache to support the develop of the new boathouse at Clark Park, which will be ready next year - as part of the initiative previously announced to open four new boathouses and concessions along the Chicago River. This is made possible through a public-private partnership with the City and the Park District, and will be built with community input. Improving the Chicago River will add to the city’s economic vitality by attracting visitors while increasing the quality of life for residents. MacArthur Genius grant winner Jeanne Gang is leading the team of Illinois Institute of Technology architecture students to design this boathouse, which will increase access and use of the Chicago River.