October 30, 2014
The Civic Federation and Motorola Solutions Foundation are pleased to announce the 2014 Excellence in Public Service honoree, Rocco Claps, Director of the Illinois Department of Human Rights. The award recognizes a non-elected government official who has had an extraordinary impact on the quality of state and local government services in Illinois. The award will be presented on Thursday, December 11, 2014 at the Palmer House Hilton with a coffee reception beginning at 8:00 a.m., followed by breakfast and the award program at 8:30 a.m.
Rocco Claps is the longest-serving director of the Illinois Department of Human Rights in the agency’s history. Prior to his appointment in 2003, Claps served as deputy assessor for Cook County and held several positions in the Clinton administration including Chief of Staff for the 1996 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. He began his career as a communications and special projects coordinator for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan.
Director Claps has led the work of the Department of Human Rights to establish civil unions, prevent sexual harassment on college campuses, reduce bullying in schools and to increase state employment opportunities for people with disabilities. He led a successful campaign in 2005 to include sexual orientation in the Illinois Human Rights Act. Director Claps has also expanded the Department’s outreach with an active social media presence and the translation of anti-discrimination and fair housing brochures into 15 different languages.
Director Claps’ colleagues commend his innovative and responsible stewardship of Department resources. As the State’s budget crisis continues, Director Claps has developed alternative revenue sources to protect the Department’s programs including a work sharing relationship with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and a new fee structure for the Department’s Training and Public Contract Units. He has also maintained strong relationships with federal, state and local partner agencies and state legislators.
Rocco Claps is the first openly gay cabinet official in Illinois history. He was inducted into the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame in 2013 for his work in the LGBT community and his career in public service.
Past recipients of the Motorola Solutions Foundation Excellence in Public Service Award include Chicago Department of Aviation Commissioner Rosemarie Andolino, Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director Julie Hamos, former City of Chicago First Lady Margaret C. Daley and Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority Trustee Jim Reilly.
Tables for the awards breakfast may be reserved for $600 and individual tickets for $65. To request an invitation or for more information, please contact Briana Wagner at PJH & Associates at (312) 553-2000.