President Steele head shot
Kari K. Steele

 

Chicago Crusader: The nine-member Board of Commissioners for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago (MWRD) has elected three officers to two-year terms of leadership. President Kari K. Steele was re-elected president for a third term and Vice President Kimberly Du Buclet was elected for a first time as vice president. Chairman of Finance Marcelino Garcia was elected by his peers for a second term.

President Steele was elected to the Board of Commissioners in 2012 and re-elected in 2018 before being chosen by her colleagues in 2019 as the first African American female president elected in the history of the MWRD. She was nominated as president at the Jan. 5 Board of Commissioners’ meeting and unanimously elected as president.

“I am honored to be nominated and unanimously elected for a third term by my fellow commissioners to lead the MWRD to continue to fulfil our critically important work to protect the region’s water environment,” said President Steele. “I appreciate my esteemed colleagues on the Board for their trust and support, our staff for their commitment and diligent hard work, and the collaboration of so many municipal, regional, and non-governmental partners striving to protect the citizens and health of our environment. As I always say and it is reflected in our work, teamwork makes the dream work.”

A chemist by trade, President Steele worked for more than 11 years for both the MWRD, as a water sampler and lab technician, and with the Chicago Department of Water Management before joining the Board of Commissioners.

Vice President Du Buclet, now in her second term serving as commissioner since being elected in 2018, is a South Side native and lifelong Chicagoan. Vice President Du Buclet replaces former Vice President Barbara McGowan, who retired after 24 years of service on the Board of Commissioners.

“Thank you to the Board of Commissioners for placing me in this important role of leadership for the MWRD,” said Vice President Du Buclet. “We are setting our sights on achieving many major accomplishments and protecting the water resources for millions of people who are impacted by our services each day.”

Prior to serving as commissioner, Vice President Du Buclet served as the legislative and community affairs director for the Chicago Park District and state representative of the 26th District in the Illinois General Assembly. As commissioner, she strives to increase awareness of environmental justice issues throughout Cook County, and to increase open green space for communities while providing additional green infrastructure opportunities for water conservation.

Having been elected commissioner in 2018, Chairman Garcia was elected as an officer for the second time. He first became chairman of finance in 2021.

“I thank my fellow commissioners and staff for their support and acknowledgement,” said Chairman Garcia. “I look forward to continuing towards achieving our funding policy goals and projects and maintaining our strong fiscal resiliency. This is what allows us to do the work to protect our water environment and advance the many important initiatives established in our five-year Strategic Plan.”

An attorney with expertise in local and international governments, healthcare and community affairs, Chairman Garcia works to connect all communities to resources to protect public health, a stable environment and economic opportunity. He was a leader in expanding the MWRD’s long-term vision through the creation of the 2021-2025 Strategic Plan. Chairman Garcia brings a wealth of experience to the Board of Commissioners as director of community affairs for Cook County Health, the nation’s third largest public health system.

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