Chicago has a new 4th Ward Alderman, Sophia King, and a new Police Superintendent, Eddie Johnson, both of whom received unanimous approval by the City Council and were officially sworn into office yesterday.
Ald. Ed Burke (14) suspended the rules in the first ten minutes of the meeting so the Council could immediately appoint King to the vacant seat before getting back to the regular order of business.
In her address to the body after being sworn in, King alluded to the “grueling process” she went through to apply for the job, and spent most of her address to the Council thanking her family and friends who helped. A five-member mayor-appointed selection committee picked King from among 18 applicants. She was was one of three finalists sent to the Mayor this week for personal interviews.
“I am just ready and prepared to serve the Fourth Ward, and I don’t have any misgivings about what my role is. I am a servant leader,” King told her new colleagues on the Council.
King’s appointment to the City Council makes her one of twelve aldermen currently serving on the body to have been appointed to the seat by either Mayor Emanuel or Richard M. Daley.
King is the founder and president of Harriet’s Daughters, a “non-profit group of professional women” that works with related organizations to advocates for policy to help provide jobs and bolster wealth in African-American communities. She’s also the former president of the Kenwood Park Advisory Council, a position she held from 2008 to 2015.
The Council’s Rules Committee met prior to yesterday’s monthly City Council meeting to officially recommend her appointment before it advanced to the full council.
Asked why he selected King among the crop of applicants, Mayor Emanuel told reporters, “Because she is the right person for the job and she has deep roots in the community, not just in Kenwood, but she has worked on parks…she has worked on education…and I think she has the right background and motivation to do something now in public service. ”
Without much debate but a significant amount of praise, the City Council unanimously approved in a roll call vote to remove the interim label and to install Eddie Johnson in a permanent role as the city’s new Police Superintendent. “Well, we can strike the word interim,” Mayor Emanuel joked after the vote.
One by one, aldermen stood up to express how they’re looking forward to Johnson cleaning up the Police Department and boosting morale among the department’s rank and file.
“We’re all pulling for you, we’re relying on you to make the city safer, and also to bring back the trust and respect that office deserves,” Ald. Howard Brookins, Jr.(21) said.
“And I won’t hold you today, but we’ve got a lot of work to do and if you just look at the report that came out on the task force, you know we have a lot to do, and everything is riding on you right now,” said Ald. Emma Mitts (37).
“I don’t think there is anybody, anybody that has anything bad to say about you. That’s incredible. Keep that up, and I’m very proud to see you in that seat,” said Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41), a former police officer, prompting Mayor Emanuel to start laughing before interjecting, “Good luck” on keeping such high public support.
Shortly after Johnson was officially sworn into his new role at the helm of the Police Department, Ald. Burke suspended the rules to allow Johnson to address the Council.
“I will do my best, my absolute best, to regain the trust and to resolve some of this violence that we have out here. If I succeed, that means the CPD succeeds and the city of Chicago succeeds,” Police Supt. Johnson told the body during his brief address that lasted almost as long as the standing ovation that followed. “I just want you all to know, I will give it 200 percent every single day. And my goal, my end game, is to leave this city in much better shape than when I got here.”
Other Meeting Highlights
Ald. John Arena (45) voted no on the appointment of Richard C. Ford II to the Emergency Telephone System Board.
Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson (11) voted no to change the municipal code so the Mayor could forego the Police Board and appoint Johnson as Police Superintendent.
Ald. Emma Mitts (37) and Ald. Danny Solis (25) used parliamentary procedure to block a vote and hold a strip club ordinance she introduced following news accounts that she was compensated for drafting the plan. The item will be held in Ald. Solis’ Zoning Committee.