BRONZEVILLE — Kurt Summers was appointed Wednesday to take over for city Treasurer Stephanie Neely, who announced Monday she would step down.
“While this appointment is unexpected, it’s very welcome and it’s the culmination of my experience thus far,” Summers said at a press conference at the Harold Washington Cultural Center, 4701 S. Martin Luther King Drive.
The Harvard Business School-trained Summers will leave a job at Grosvenor Capital Management, a hedge fund run by friend of the mayor Michael Sacks. He said he plans to run to keep the treasurer’s job in the February election.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel faced criticism that he was giving Summers, 35, an unfair leg up in the election with the appointment and was frustrating the democratic process.
Emanuel said Summers had earned the job.
“I think the taxpayers deserve someone better than a seat warmer,” Emanuel said.
Summers’ appointment was cheered by a host of South Side pols Wednesday, including Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who hired Summers as her chief-of-staff when she took office in 2010, and U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D-1st).
“One of the things that Kurt is going to be able to bring to the office is the voice of the young people, which has been shut out,” said Rush, who had hired Summers as an intern.
Neely, a Kenwood resident, has said she will return to the private sector.
She was also appointed as treasurer four months ahead of the election by then-Mayor Richard M. Daley in 2006.
Neely and Summers served together on the board of Urban Prep Academies.