Dear Editor:

This letter is in response to Gery Chico’s rebuttal [Letters, May 12] to the Chicago Reader’s well-written article regarding access to public information in city government [“Public Image Limited,” May 5].

Well-respected civic and community organizations and former press secretaries criticized the Daley administration’s policy of public access to information. For some reason, Gery Chico felt the need to single me out. His comments regarding me were personal and indeed unworthy of the stature of the chief of staff.

My comments were not meant to reflect on Jim Williams as press secretary, but to characterize the Daley administration’s policy of public access to information.

Mr. Chico’s comment, “Tumia Romero’s disputes with colleagues hastened her departure,” was without merit. In fact, Jim Williams’s comments speak for themselves; he said, “A year and a half ago, when I became Mayor Daley’s press secretary, Tumia was in the process of changing jobs. At my request, she decided to stay on to help with my transition. I am grateful that she did. She has proven her ability as a press assistant.”

Mr. Williams wrote a very flattering recommendation letter in which he said, “Tumia Romero would be an outstanding addition to any organization.”

As the number one assistant to the mayor’s press secretary, I was in the position of having the press secretary’s ear unlike anyone else in city government. I could recount many instances to any reporter who would like to know to substantiate my remarks in the Reader article. There were many instances where reporters, community activists, and average citizens would call me personally to intervene in gaining access to requested information, because their access was blocked by normal channels.

Tumia Romero