My Mission for a Third Term

Each year I have produced an annual report describing my work at the District. My 2019 report—charting 13 years of service to the people of Cook County—is here.

Since I first joined the Board of Commissioners of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) in late 2006, the Chicago region has experienced two of the wettest years on record, the wettest October in 60 years (last year), record storms and severe flooding. Billions of dollars have been spent on flood control projects large and small. The Thornton Reservoir bisected by I-80 went online in late 2015 and has provided $120 million in benefits to 556,000 people since then, capturing more than 14 billion gallons of water that would have otherwise ended up flooding people’s streets and basements, or polluted Chicago’s waterways. The first phase of the McCook Reservoir near Hodgkins went online in late 2017 and within two months had prevented a winter storm from causing sewage discharges into Lake Michigan (Feb 20, 2018).

The work of the MWRD to protect Cook County’s drinking water supply by keeping sewage out of the lake, treating sewage and by managing stormwater is every more essential to ensure quality of life and to undergird a strong and vibrant economy.

I am committed in my next term to focus on these priorities:

  • Making sure that maintenance of key infrastructure at the treatment plants, pump stations, aeration stations and reservoirs is not deferred and that the ability to fulfill the District’s core mission is paramount

  • Contributing to a robust economy by exposing and training young people to join the water and wastewater workforce of the future, establishing programs to provide opportunities for underserved communities in jobs and contracts, and working to ensure that MWRD projects benefit neighborhoods across the county, because it’s good for workers, good for local and regional economies, and good for the rest of us who rely on this infrastructure for public health

  • Establishing an independent inspector general for MWRD to provide additional oversight, transparency and accountability for a $1B annual budget

  • Hiring a visionary leader and excellent manager as the next Executive Director for MWRD

  • Providing leadership in Illinois and across the nation in resource recovery and the transformation of a waste agency into a utility of the future

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