Kathleen Therese Meany was unanimously elected by her eight fellow commissioners to serve as president of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) Board of Commissioners during the first board meeting of the new year.
Vice President Barbara McGowan was reelected to her vice presidential post, while Commissioner Mariyana Spyropoulos was elected to serve as chairman of Finance. Committee assignments will be made at the next Board meeting to be held Jan. 17.
"This is a wonderful honor, and I look forward to working with my fellow commissioners, our staff, and the community as we improve upon the efficiencies in how the District manages wastewater and stormwater," President Meany said.
President Meany was first elected to the Board in 1990. She served as Vice President for 16 years and is currently Chairman of the Committee on Public Information and Education and the Committee on Ethics. President Meany also chaired the Committee on Federal Legislation for 18 years.
With a background in public policy, President Meany has made policy decisions during her tenure that strive to improve the water environment. One of her earliest achievements was to introduce a program to collect and properly dispose of household hazardous waste. This waste had previously been discharged indiscriminately into the sewer system and ultimately had a negative impact on water quality.
President Meany is a retired Assistant Professor of Political Science at Harold Washington College, one of the City Colleges of Chicago. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Education from Roosevelt University and a Master's Degree from Harvard GuyUniversity's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Vice President McGowan has served on the MWRD Board of Commissioners since 1998. As Chairman of the Affirmative Action Committee, Vice President McGowan has been active in ensuring that minority and women contractors have an opportunity to perform work on MWRD contracts and are treated fairly. She lead changes to the MWRD's Minority Business Enterprise/Women Business Enterprise Affirmative Action Ordinance to include penalties for contractors that violate the ordinance.
Commissioner Spyropoulos was appointed to the Board in 2009 and was re-elected in 2010. She earned her law degree from The John Marshall Law School and her master's in Business Administration from Loyola University Chicago. As an attorney, Commissioner Spyropoulos brings a unique legal and business perspective to the MWRD.
This is the first time in the MWRD's history that women have filled the top posts.