Two long-tenured city of Chicago commissioners will be retiring from their positions in the coming months, as Business Affairs and Consumer Protection Commissioner Rosa Escareño and Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events Commissioner Mark Kelly will both be stepping down.
According to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s office, Escareño has worked in city government for more than 30 years and under four different mayors, and will step down from her position at the end of July.
Kelly has served in his position since July 2016, and will retire in the fall.
"Time and time again, our city has been challenged in unimaginable ways, with the COVID-19 pandemic being the most recent iteration. But at every step of the way, both Commissioner Kelly and Commissioner Escareño have gone beyond the call of duty to ensure their respective departments were ready to respond to the needs of our residents," said Mayor Lightfoot. "Through a collective of nearly four decades worth of hard work and leadership, Commissioner Kelly and Commissioner Escareño have truly made our city a better place and words cannot encapsulate how grateful I am for their personal sacrifice over the past 16 months. I wish them both nothing but the best as they embark on this exciting next chapter of their lives and enjoy their well-earned retirement."
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Escareño had originally planned to step down from her role after helping aid in Lightfoot’s transition to her office, but when the coronavirus pandemic hit, she offered to continue on in the position, according to a press release from Lightfoot’s office.
“It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve the residents of this great city for over 30 years,” Escareño said in a press release. “As a lifelong public servant, I have had the great fortune to dedicate my life to making this city a better place.”
According to Lightfoot’s office, BACP Deputy Commissioner Kenneth Meyer will serve as acting commissioner beginning on Aug. 1.
Kelly, who previously worked for several universities and colleges, including Columbia College Chicago, was appointed to his post by former Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2016.
“I want to thank Mayor Lori Lightfoot and First Lady Amy Eshleman for their support, passion, and commitment to Chicago’s arts community. Make no mistake – the new arts recovery resources we are bringing forward are due to their efforts, along with those of Deputy Mayor Samir Mayekar,” Kelly said in a statement.
Kelly plans to continue serving until his replacement is named later this year, according to the release.