Mayor Emanuel Names John Tully Commissioner of Streets and Sanitation

November 29, 2017

Charles Williams retiring after a strong tenure with the Department that includes implementing efficiencies that saved taxpayers nearly $30 million annually

Mayor’s Press Office    312.744.3334 |

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced that he has appointed John Tully, a 23-year-veteran of the City of Chicago, as the new Commissioner of the Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS). Tully will be replacing Charles Williams, who plans to retire.

“Charles has not only been a great Commissioner, he has been a good friend,” said Mayor Emanuel. “His focus was always on the residents of the City, which meant that he often had to put in 24 hour days. I know it is time for him to spend time with his family, but he will be truly missed and I thank him for his service.”

From day one, Mayor Emanuel charged Williams with reforming City service delivery to increase efficiency and provide the most cost-effective, quality services possible to Chicago taxpayers. The most significant operational reform came with the implementation of the grid refuse collection system, which accounts for nearly $30 million of operational savings each year. Using the grid system, Williams was also able to help the Department eliminate the graffiti backlog, significantly reduce the tree trimming backlog and ensure that all rodent complaints are now answered within five days.

The Mayor is now calling on Tully to continue those reforms by improving cart operations and finding new ways to fight rodents in Chicago.

“John has worked side by side with Charles over the past several years to transform Streets and Sanitation into a Department that provides faster, more efficient services for the residents of Chicago,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “John's wealth of institutional knowledge and experience will ensure a smooth transition, and I am confident he will continue pushing to find new ways to enhance the Department’s operations.”

Tully has amassed 35 years of experience and expertise in administration, operations and finance. He worked his way through the ranks at DSS after joining as Fiscal Administrator in 1994, then moving to General Superintendent of Administration for the Bureau of Sanitation, Deputy Commissioner of the Bureau of Sanitation, Managing Deputy Commissioner and most recently, serving as First Deputy Commissioner.

“Streets and Sanitation has an amazing team of committed men and women who continuously strive to deliver the best service to our residents. I am honored that the Mayor has chosen me to serve as Commissioner and I look forward to continuing to find new and innovative ways to optimize services for all Chicagoans,” said Tully.

Tully previously worked in economic development under two Illinois State Treasurers. He holds a Master’s of Science in Public Service management from DePaul University and a Bachelors of Arts in Public administration and Political Science from Lewis University.

Williams joined the Department of Streets and Sanitation as Commissioner in 2012, after 34-years of service with the Chicago Police Department (CPD)

During his tenure with DSS, Williams used his strong leadership and organizational skills to cut redundancy and modernized operations . In addition to the implementation of the grid system, Williams reworked all snow routes across the system to improve response times, as well as oversaw the expansion of the blue cart recycling program to every single family home in the City of Chicago.

Williams had a successful career with CPD, which culminated in his being named the first Deputy Superintendent of Patrol in 2005. Williams received a number of distinguished awards including the Carter Harrison Honorable Mention Award, the Blue Star Award, four Department Lifesaving Awards, two Unit Meritorious Awards, 94 Honorable Mention Awards, among other ribbons and recommendations.

Tully's appointment is subject to City Council approval but will begin to serve in an interim capacity effective immediately.

News Release Facts