Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Saturday they are urging the Chicago Park District board to remove Mike Kelly, district CEO, amid growing investigations into allegations of sexual harassment and harassment of young caregivers.
In a statement, the mayor explained that he attended an emergency meeting with the Chicago Park District Board of Commissioners Friday and asked the board to remove Kelly for good reason.
“The culture of sexual harassment, harassment and coercion that has pervaded the State of the Acatics program to keep people under his leadership, as well as the lack of supervision or superintendent as new facts have emerged, is unacceptable,” he said.
A number of Chicago aldermen began seeking Kelly’s dismissal as a district attorney earlier this week after a circuit overseer resigned following allegations of misconduct by a woman he loved.
Ald. Michele Smith, of Chicago’s 43rd Ward, once described a shelter in the Chicago Park District as “poisonous,” and that the ongoing flood of accusations of sexual harassment and harassment indicates that significant changes are needed.
“This clearly shows that there has never been a commitment to zero tolerance for adultery,” he said.
Earlier this year, two senior managers were suspended amid allegations of sexual harassment and harassment within the district’s Beach and Pools Unit.
In March 2020, a former lifeguard accused some of his activists of inciting him, and others, into sexual harassment, as well as sexual harassment and beatings.
WBEZ announced earlier this year that the district is also investigating other allegations of misconduct among lake and coastal workers.
The district says the first accusation of misconduct was reported in February 2020, and that they have taken “immediate and long-term action changes” after the indictment.
“The Chicago Park district has made rapid and long-term changes not only to change the team’s culture, but also to ensure that perpetrators and witnesses feel free to bring their grievances. This includes taking action against more than 40 Park District employees,” the district said in a statement.
The Chicago Park district has been criticized for its sexual harassment and misconduct allegations brought by former female guards. On Friday, the district commissioner addressed the dispute. NBC 5’s Charlie Wojciechowski reports.
In a statement calling for Kelly to shoot Saturday, Lightfoot said he was looking forward to “doing it soon”.
“While there has been talk of new training, new practices, and new staff, the failure of the existing District District Administration’s response to new so-called child-friendly substances remains and cannot be allowed one day long,” he said.