May 25 , 2017
Michael J. Tardy, Director of the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts, announced his retirement effective August 1, 2017, following a sterling 40-plus year career with the Judicial Branch. Tardy was named Acting Director in September 2011 and was officially appointed as Director in January 2012.
Marcia Meis, Deputy Director of the Administrative Office, has been appointed as Director following Tardy's retirement.
"Throughout his long career, Mike has been an invaluable asset to the Supreme Court. An innovative administrator, a gifted leader, and a skillful diplomat, Mike has helped steer the Third Branch of Illinois government through some of its most difficult challenges. During a period of budgetary uncertainty, social change and rapid technological innovation, Mike has been instrumental in insuring that the judicial system remains available to all who need its protections," said Chief Justice Lloyd A. Karmeier. "He has overseen the implementation of statewide electronic filing and the introduction of new measures to improve pretrial release practices. He has helped place Illinois at the forefront of initiatives to improve access to justice, and his contributions have been critical to our implementation of new measures to insure that Illinois judges receive the best possible training and education."
Director Tardy served in both clinical and administrative positions within the Illinois judicial branch for the past 41 years. He initially worked for the Circuit Court of Cook County Social Service Department, a court agency charged with providing community-based supervision for adult misdemeanor and DUI offenders in Cook County. In his 13 years with the Cook County department, he started as a case worker and worked his way to district supervisor, managing three offices and a staff of 40.
"I have loved my time with the AOIC and it has been a great honor to serve the Court," Director Tardy said. "It has been an absolute privilege to do what I love – to aid in 'doing justice' on a daily basis. I feel most fortunate to have lived this reality as Director of the Illinois Courts."
He joined the Administrative Office of the Illinois Courts in 1988 as a field supervisor with the Probation Services Division and was named associate director of the division in 1995. Under Illinois statute, the division is responsible for the development and implementation throughout the state for adult probation, juvenile probation and juvenile detention programs. As associate director, Tardy managed the probation staff in the Chicago office and under the direction of the assistant director planned, coordinated and managed many facets of the division's programs and operations.
In 2002, Tardy was named Executive Assistant to former Director Cynthia Y. Cobbs. In that capacity, he managed diverse and complex functions of the Administrative Office on behalf of the Director, including administrative policy development and coordination with multiple offices of the Illinois judicial branch of government. The Illinois Supreme Court named him as Director when Ms. Cobbs resigned and was appointed as a Circuit Court judge in September 2011.
Tardy also served from 1997 to 2000 as consultant to the Municipal Court in Seattle, Washington, conducting and coordinating three studies and projects for the court's presiding judge and trial court administrator in regards to probation operations and offender risk assessment policies.
Director Tardy earned his bachelor’s degree from DePaul University and a master’s degree in
Clinical Social Work from the University of Illinois at Chicago. From 2001-2011, he served as a part-time faculty member at Loyola University in the Criminal Justice Department.
Ms. Meis is a graduate of DePaul University College of Law and worked briefly in private practice. She served as an Illinois Appellate Court law clerk for several years before joining the AOIC in 1999. After serving as Chief Legal Counsel, Ms. Meis became AOIC Deputy Director in 2014.
"If there is any consolation in Mike’s departure, it is in his replacement, Marcia Meis. I have had the good fortune of working with Marcia since I was a circuit judge serving on the Supreme Court committee on jury instructions in criminal cases," Chief Justice Karmeier said. "She has done an exemplary job during her many years of service with the Administrative Office. The court has every confidence that she will bring to the office of director the same level of skill and dedication that Mike has, and we look forward to working with her toward the continued improvement of Illinois’ system of justice."
Among other roles, the Administrative Office conducts the election process for the appointment and reappointment of Associate judges, provides support services to the Court’s Committees and the Judicial Conference, develops the judicial branch budget, provides legislative support services to the Court, collects and publishes statistical information on court caseloads and case flow, assists in the development and oversight of the Court’s Comprehensive Judicial Education Plan, provides technology and information services to the Supreme and Appellate Courts, maintains the Court’s website, develops and monitors probation programs for the Circuit Courts, and is responsible for administering particular Supreme Court rules. The Administrative Director also serves as secretary to the Illinois Courts Commission.