City government excerpts

A couple of links of interest especially if you get the daily "Palm Card" e-mails from the Chicago News Cooperative.

First, I would imagine this may be a challenge for Alderman-elect Sawyer. Will he have the challenge of navigating the city bureaucracy and in delivering city services?
Chicago's new aldermen promise better days for business. But can they get business done? Don't bank on it.

Both law and custom give members of the City Council extensive power in their wards, from zoning changes and liquor license applications to permits for loading zones and sidewalk awnings. Even so, aldermen often derive their real clout from knowing who to call to cut through the bureaucracy.

As the recently elected council takes office in mid-May, many fewer members will have that ability. More than a third of the city's aldermen—18 out of 50, the most in more than 30 years—were elected for the first time this year, and another 11 were newly elected just four years earlier. Of course, Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel is new to City Hall, too, as are many of his department chiefs. Until they find their way, bureaucrats will be more in charge than ever.
While this may not be much indication, I think there is some indication from this article I posted on the blog not long after his election.

Rahm Emanuel does plan to reduce the city council's committees and their spending even as he chooses to get along with Ald. Ed Burke (14th):
After breaking the ice with Finance Committee Chairman Edward M. Burke (14th), Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel is likely to retain Burke, but shrink the roster and spending of City Council committees, sources said Friday.

The line-up under discussion calls for the number of standing committees to be reduced from 19 to 15 with an accompanying spending cut of roughly 20 percent.

“The goal is saving money and becoming more efficient,” said Ald. Pat O’Connor (40th), who brokered the meeting with Burke and is likely to become Emanuel’s City Council floor leader.
While not in this morning's palm card, this is something worth noting from the Ward Room on the relationship between Rahm Emanuel & Ed Burke:
In Chicago politics, what happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? They meet at Ald. Patrick O’Connor’s house, and agree to coexist in the same universe.

That’s what Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel and Alderman-for-Life Edward Burke did last week, after finally realizing they couldn’t get rid of each other.

They tried; man, how they tried. The challenge to Emanuel’s residency was assumed by many to be a plot hatched by Burke at the 14th Ward Democratic Organization offices on 51st Street. The residency challenge failed. Even Burke’s wife, Justice Anne, voted to keep Emanuel on the ballot when the case came before the Illinois Supreme Court.

But Burke had a backup plan. You don’t survive 42 years in Chicago politics without having a backup plan. He ran his old protégé, Gery Chico, for mayor of Chicago. Chico grew up in Burke’s ward and got his start in politics on Burke’s Finance Committee. Chico wouldn’t have risked a Council Wars II by dumping Burke from his committee chairmanship. He would have allowed Burke to help write the budget.

During the mayoral campaign, I spoke to several aldermen who told me that Emanuel would never get the votes to replace Burke as Finance Committee chairman. Burke has given too much money and done too many favors for his fellow aldermen. Plus, an attack on Burke would have been considered an attack on the City Council’s independence.
Some may argue about the City Council's independence. All the same I really would like to see how a Mayor Emanuel will get along with a new Chicago City Council. And the excitement begins next month.


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