CHICAGO (CBS) — There’s a new boss in Chicago and she is not timid.
It was Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s first City Council meeting and she didn’t back down, even against the once powerful Ald. Ed Burke (14th.)
CBS 2 political reporter Derrick Blakley has the story from City Hall.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot was the big winner on Wednesday, both in her confrontation with Ald. Ed Burke (14th) and in reorganization of City Council. Her entire slate of committee chairmen was approved by voice vote.
With the bang of the gavel, Mayor Lightfoot took control of her first City Council meeting. But it was a verbal confrontation with Ald. Bruke that really showed who’s boss.
“These rules should provide for his or her in the various sections,” said Burke, complaining the new City Council rules, as written, should be gender neutral. Lightfoot replied that it doesn’t matter.
“You’re aware that under terms of the law, particularly as provided in the municipal code, that gender applies with equal force,” he said.
When Burke persisted, Lightfoot lost patience.
“Is your general concern that the rules have a gender designation and not his or her, is that the gist of it,” asked Lightfoot. “That’s it, and…,” continued Burke. “Is there any other thing you want to call to the chair’s attention,” asked Lightfoot of Burke. When he said no, she responded “sir, we’ll take your issue under advisement and we’re going to move forward.”
With that, Lightfoot’s slate of committee chairmen passed on a voice vote. And when Burke rose again, Lightfoot said:
“Alderman, please. Alderman, I will call you when I’m ready to hear from you.”
Afterwards, Lightfoot had this to say about Burke’s statements in City Council.
“The notion that Ed Burke, fill in the history, is somehow now concerned about gender equity is laughable,” Lightfoot added.
All Lightfoot’s choices for committee chairmen were approved: Scott Waguespack for finance, Pat Dowell for budget and Tom Tunney for zoning. And she lowered the boom on Burke.
“Alderman Burke is somebody who likes to test people. He likes to see if there are weaknesses. And he has attempted to do this in the past with me,” Lightfoot said. “And he’s failed spectacularly every time. And every time he tries it, he will again fail spectacularly.”
The mayor’s office also released budgets for City Council committees. Under powerful committeeman Ed Burke, the Finance Committee had a budget over two million dollars. That’s been cut by a whopping two-thirds. The new budget: under $700,000.
Clearly, a new day at City Hall.