Karen Tamley was named Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) in March of 2005 by Richard M. Daley and reappointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in May of 2011. MOPD promotes full inclusion of people with all types of disabilities and strives to make Chicago the most accessible city in the nation.
In her role as Commissioner, Ms. Tamley leads numerous disability policy and accessibility compliance initiatives in key areas such as transportation, city infrastructure, emergency preparedness, housing, schools and technology. She also oversees the delivery of independent living services such as in-home supports, home accessibility modifications, amplified phones, and employment readiness to thousands of Chicagoans with disabilities. Commissioner Tamley serves as the City’s representative regarding disability related policy on a number of boards and committees, including the Pace Board of Directors, the region’s Paratransit service provider.
Under Commissioner Tamley’s leadership, Chicago received the Accessible America Award from the National Organization on Disability and for two years, MOPD was named “Best Government Department” by the Deaf Illinois.
For 15 years prior to her appointment, Tamley served in management, policy and advocacy roles at disability organizations in Washington D.C., Denver and Chicago. Prior to her appointment as Commissioner, she was the Director of Programs at Access Living a center for advocacy and services for people with disabilities in Chicago.
Commissioner Tamley earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley