Daley names former building chief to School Board

Print More

Mayor Richard M. Daley has a reputation for playing musical chairs and appointing loyal staff to head various city agencies. On Thursday, he held true to form and appointed former buildings commissioner Mary Richardson-Lowry to lead the School Board.

Mayor Richard M. Daley has a reputation for playing musical chairs and
appointing loyal staff to head various city agencies. On Thursday, he
held true to form and appointed former buildings commissioner Mary
Richardson-Lowry to lead the School Board.

He also recommended she be named president, setting her up as
heir-apparent for the late Michael Scott’s seat. Richardson-Lowry has
worked for Daley in one way or another for 10 years. In 1992, she
started as assistant corporation counsel with the city’s law department
and left the city workforce in 2002 after serving as building
commissioner.

Richardson-Lowry left the building commissioner post days after an
accident at the John Hancock Center, where scaffolding plunged more
than 40 floors to the ground during a wind storm and killed three
women. But a city spokesperson said Richardson-Lowry’s departure had
nothing to do with the accident.

She then became an equity partner at Mayer Brown Rowe & Maw, a global law firm.

In her prepared statement, Lowry-Richardson said her mother was a
teacher and an administrator. She went to public schools in Compton,
California. She lives in the Jackson Highlands neighborhood of South
Shore.

She comes to the board at a time when it has been mired in controversy.
The last two board presidents, Scott and Rufus Williams, are the
subject of investigations surrounding the misuse of their
district-issued credit cards. CEO Ron Huberman has revoked dozens of
cards from CPS employees.

Daley touted Richardson-Lowry’s experience revamping the city’s
building permit process and negotiating the agreement that established
the Office of Emergency Management.

Education advocates, citing
Huberman’s background at the Chicago Transit Authority, were hoping
that Scott’s replacement would be someone with expertise in education.