Kelly focusing on U.S. seat
BY LISA DONOVAN AND NATASHA KORECKI Sun-Times Media December 13, 2012 6:06PM
Robin Kelly announced at Mr. Benny's Steak & Lobster House in Matteson, Illinois, that she is running for Jesse Jackson Jr.'s 2nd Congressional District seat from which he resigned. | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times
Updated: January 15, 2013 11:42AM
Former state Rep. Robin Kelly has resigned from Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s cabinet to devote her time and energy to running for the 2nd Congressional District seat vacated by U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.
Kelly, who was Preckwinkle’s chief administrative officer, had said she had planned to take a leave of absence, but in a Dec. 7 letter to Preckwinkle the Democrat from Matteson said she was resigning from the position to run for Congress.
In the three-paragraph letter, Kelly told Preckwinkle she was “proud of the work we accomplished in the Bureau of Administration.”
Kelly, who was also a chief of staff to former state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias, was among Preckwinkle’s first hires when she won the November 2010 election and was earning $172,519 annually, according to payroll records. The average congressman makes about $174,000.
During her two years on the job, Kelly was best known for leading a cleanup effort at the Cook County morgue after the Sun-Times first reported in January staff complaints of crowded and filthy conditions at the West Side facility.
Photos of bodies piling up in the cooler at the morgue and complaints from employees about unsanitary conditions proved to be Preckwinkle’s first big embarrassment in office.
The complaints prompted a state labor department inquiry, and Preckwinkle publicly criticized management inside the facility, 2121 W. Harrison St., leading to the resignation of Chief Medical Examiner Nancy Jones and the firing of one of her deputies.
Ultimately, Kelly carried out Preckwinkle’s orders to overhaul the morgue operations, including changing policies and procedures to ensure staffers were doing their jobs and making sure a cleaning schedule was in place. The morgue is under the direct authority of Preckwinkle’s Bureau of Administration, which Kelly ran.
She was a state representative in the south suburbs from 2002 until leaving in 2007 to work for Giannoulias. She joined Preckwinkle’s staff after losing to Republican Dan Rutherford in her bid to replace Giannoulias as treasurer in 2010.