Aldermen will be asked to approve Mayor Emanuel’s appointment of former Board of Education Vice President Jesse Ruiz to the Chicago Park District’s Board of Commissioners, where he will be likely elected President of the Board by fellow Board members.
Ruiz served as the Education Board’s vice president for five years before taking over as Interim CEO for Chicago Public Schools last year when the former CEO, Barbara Byrd-Bennett was removed from the post after a federal investigation found she steered millions of dollars in school contracts to her former employer.
Ruiz will replace the Park District board’s outgoing President, Dr. Bryan Traubert, who has led the Board since 2010 and stepped down at the end of last year. The Mayor wants Ruiz to take his place at the helm. Last November, when the Mayor first announced plans to put Ruiz in charge of the Park District, he said the appointment would set the stage for a major parks initiative he’d be rolling out in December. But no announcement has been made, a likely consequence of the political fallout of the release of the Laquan McDonald video. Four days after the Mayor announced Ruiz’s appointment, Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke was charged with murdering Laquan McDonald.