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 the 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 disability initiatives in the areas of transportation, city infrastructure, emergency planning, education, technology, and employment. She also oversees the delivery of independent living services such as in-home supports, residential accessibility modifications, home delivered meals and employment readiness skills to thousands of Chicagoans with disabilities.
Commissioner Tamley leads the Mayoral Task Force on Employment and Economic Opportunity, the Financial Advisory Council for The Empowerment of People with Disabilities, and Mayor Emanuel’s Literacy Task Force.
In 2015 the Civic Federation and Motorola Solutions Foundation awarded Commissioner Tamley with the “Excellence in Public Service Award” and Leadership Greater Chicago selected her to receive their “Distinguished Leader” award for her extraordinary impact. Also in 2015, Commissioner Tamley was appointed by President Obama to serve on the United States Access Board, which develops national accessibility guidelines and standards and in March of 2018, she was elected Vice-Chair of the Board.
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.
Commissioner Tamley earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley.