Although she’s in Iowa covering the caucus, Super-Reporter Mary Ann Ahern from NBC5 scooped everyone last night by reporting that Ald. Will Burns (4) plans to retire and take a job at Airbnb. Burns did not respond to requests for confirmation by Aldertrack’s publication deadline.
Ald. Burns is Chair of the Education and Child Development Committee and has been holding a broadly supported resolution from a vote out committee calling for a halt to additional charter schools. Burns, who came to Council after three years as a State Representative and time in Springfield as former-Senate Pres. Emil Jones, Jr.’sconfidant, and was elected alderman with the support of 4th Ward Democratic Committeeman Toni Preckwinkle after she was elected Cook County Board President. Burns has also served as a contractor to lobbying powerhouse, AKPD, recently rebranded as Kivvit.
Despite its name, the Education Committee has virtually no purview over Chicago Public Schools, since education reforms passed in 1995 removed all Council oversight from CPS and gave the mayor total control. Burns is highly unpopular with the Chicago Teachers Union. “Burns is like Ken Dunkin to the CTU,” said one labor organizer speaking anonymously last night.
Because Burns retired before a 28-month cutoff date, the time an alderman must serve to allow the Mayor to appoint a replacement, the 4th Ward will need to conduct a special election to replace him.
“Total shock,” said Ald. Joe Moore (49), who has worked with Burns closely in the past. “If he was not happy, he certainly kept it close to his vest.”