The Chicago Park District board of commissioners has elected Myetie Hamilton, a member of the board since September 2021, as the body’s new president.
Hamilton fills a vacancy left by the resignation of Avis LaVelle, who stepped down in November. Hamilton won the unanimous support of her peers at Wednesday’s board meeting.
LaVelle’s resignation capped a tumultuous, scandal-plagued year for the Park District, in which a mishandled investigation into allegations of harassment and sexual misconduct within the district’s aquatics program brought down longtime CEO and general superintendent Mike Kelly, among others.
“This is a rare opportunity for us to forge a path forward in restoring trust,” Hamilton said, as she accepted the presidency. “I answer this call enthusiastically.”
Mayor Lori Lightfoot threw her support behind Hamilton. “I trust that Myetie will bring the skills and qualities needed to guide the system of the more than 600 parks in our city and strengthen our neighborhoods while improving the trust between our residents and the Park District,” Lightfoot said in a statement.
Hamilton has been the executive director of City Year Chicago since 2019, and prior to that she held various positions within Chicago Public Schools, including deputy chief of staff for disgraced CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett.
The mayor’s office declined to respond to a request from WTTW News regarding Hamilton’s association with Byrd-Bennett.
Meanwhile, Lightfoot’s pick to fill LaVelle’s vacant seat — Andrea Telli, former head of Chicago Public Library — won the approval of a key City Council committee Wednesday, and will advance to a vote from the full council Feb. 23.
A replacement for Kelly has yet to be named. Rosa Escareño, one-time head of the city’s Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection, continues in the role of interim CEO and general superintendent. Her contract was recently renewed through April.
Heather Cherone contributed to this report.