At the first official meeting of the new term, after eighty minutes of speeches honoring police officers and ROTC students, the City Council blazed through major legislation in a mere 30 minutes when they approved new committee chair assignments, adopted new rules of order and appointed former Gov. Pat Quinn operative Ben Winick to oversee the City Council Office of Financial Analysis, an independent city budget office that has been without leadership since its approval in 2013.

In the meeting’s last minutes Ald. Ed Burke (14) made a quick, last minute motion to carry an ethanol ordinance into the new term, while twenty-three aldermen co-sponsored and introduced an ordinance that would put the Inspector General’s Office in charge of policing the City Council–a job currently under the jurisdiction of the Legislative Inspector General. Last year, the Legislator Inspector General sued the City for not giving him enough money to do his job.

Much of the two hour meeting was spent honoring Chicago police officers Marlene Rivera and Edwin Pagan–almost a dozen aldermen took time to recognize the officers for saving a 15-year-old shooting victim–and a resolution, introduced by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, recognizing Junior ROTC scholarship winners. Sixteen aldermen highlighted the importance of that program. Ald. Michelle Harris also introduced a resolution honoring Ald. Carrie Austin (34) on her belated 66th birthday.

A few new aldermen took the chance to speak in support of resolutions today: Ald. David Moore (17), Ald. Chris Taliferro (29), Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35), Ald. Milly Santiago (31) Ald. Brian Hopkins (2), and Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36). New female members of Council were also given a wrapped gift from Ald. Carrie Austin.

New Committee Chair Assignments And Amended Rules of Order

Ald. Ed Burke (14) moved to pass the resolution assigning Committee Chairs by “viva voce”, voice vote, which succeeded, despite audible, but indistinguishable, nay votes from several sitting aldermen. Here is a list of all committee appointments. A complete list of chairs and their 2015 budgets is below this article.

The Council also passed new operating rules, which were little changed, except now motions to discharge from committee will require a five-day written notice to all aldermen. Previously, a written request could be filed with the Clerk 48 hours in advance (which were seldom checked by Aldermen) and then passed by a quick voice vote in Council. This rule change makes it harder to do an endrun around Council leadership.

Winick’s Appointment

The City Council approved Budget Chairman Ald. Carrie Austin’s (34) recommendation appointing Ben Winick as the Financial Analyst of the City Council’s Office of Financial Analysis (COFA), an independent office that will evaluate the city’s finances and help the City Council make “informed decisions” on financial matters by:

  • Analyzing the annual budget, the city’s annual audit, and rating agency actions;
  • Recommending cost saving measures; and
  • Reviewing public-private partnerships.

Winick currently serves as the Vice President of Policy for Innovation Illinois, a non-partisan, research-based advocacy organization. He also has previous experience working for the state Governor’s Office of Management and Budget.

The Kill Resolution

In the final minutes of the meeting, Ald. Ed Burke (14) moved to suspend the rules to adopt a so-called “kill resolution” by voice vote. It is common to kill old business before the start of the new term, except that this resolution saved a key ethanol ordnance, co-sponsored by Burke, that would require gas stations to provide a higher ethanol blend, E-10, at the pump. It was deferred and published during the December 10th, 2014 City Council meeting. Burke quickly (and very loudly) yelled “Aye” after requesting that President Pro Tempore Margaret Laurino (39) call the vote. Burke’s motion opposing the motion to dismiss the vote was even louder, and more distinct, as he was the only one to yell “NO!”.

The kill resolution allows for the following items to carry over into the new term:

  • Applications for condominium refuse rebates, senior sewer rebates and small claims pending in the Committee on Finance;
  • Proposals for zoning map amendments pending in the Committee on Zoning, Landmarks and Building Standards;
  • Routine matters pending in the Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety (municipal code amendments, resolutions, or matters pertaining to moving parking meters shall not be considered to be routine matters);
  • Proposals for grants of privilege in the public way and proposals for vacation of streets and alleys pending in the Committee on Transportation and Public Way; and
  • Any matter ordered to be deferred and published on or after December 10, 2014. (The E-10 ordinance is the only piece of legislation that fits this bill).

The Mayor’s Post-Council Press Conference

Mayor Emanuel faced questions about Riot Fest’s move, the first-ever COFA appointment, a video of an on-duty sleeping cop that’s gone viral, and the latest update from Springfield, after Wednesday’s meeting.

When asked about Riot Fest’s move from Humboldt Park (38th Ward) to Douglas Park (12th Ward), Emanuel said while he was excited festival organizers decided to make Chicago their home, the city “will hold the festival’s organizers accountable to make sure […] they will leave it in as good as shape as they started.” This came after Humboldt Park residents and the local alderman, Roberto Maldonado (26), fought hard to bar the music festival from returning. When asked about a, “literal cloud of marijuana smoke for blocks,” at the last festival, Emanuel, who wasn’t sure if it was a question or statement, reiterated that it is not in the festival’s “best interest” to trash another park and have the local community block their return, adding that there is no, “three strike rule in Chicago.”

Emanuel then shot back at questions about why City Council needed an independent budget office. “Wait, this is after a year and a half of you [reporters] wanting it, now you want to ask why we did it?” He then proceeded to tell a joke about Jewish mothers and sweaters, followed by a few analogies before “the serious part” of his answer: The City finally found someone with the credentials to, “help the aldermen who seek answers to questions,” so that they can do a better job when it comes time to craft next year’s budget. “We have tough decisions ahead of us,” Emanuel said, calling the appointment “symbolic” because it was approved at the first City Council meeting.

On the topic of the sleeping CPD officer, Emanuel said the matter is under investigation and is not representative of the entire department.

As for dealings in Springfield, Emanuel said while they were having “good conversations” on a proposal to expand casino gambling to Chicago and the Governor’s proposed budget cuts, he expects “a lot of activity” in the final two weeks of the session.

Aldermanic Ordinance Introductions

Twenty-three aldermen co-sponsored an ordinance amending the Municipal Code to put the Inspector General’s Office in charge of overseeing the City Council, a job that is currently held by the Office of the Legislative Inspector General. It would give the IG investigative authority over aldermen, City Council committees and any bureau or other service agency of the City Council. The ordinance [O2015-4229], referred to the Committee on Workforce Development & Audit, requests the following changes:

  • The OIG’s budget to be 0.105% of total annual appropriations each fiscal year.
  • Appointment of the Inspector General based on a set list of criteria; removes language requiring a Mayor-appointed “Blue Ribbon Panel” of five members to search for a qualified candidate. Instead, the Mayor would get to appoint three members and the Council would get to choose the other two.
  • Expands IG’s authority to not only monitor employment actions related to the Shakman Decree, but also “audit and review” those actions, too.
  • A formal complaint has to be filed and signed before the IG can begin an investigation
  • If the IG submits a report to the chairman of the Rules Committee (Ald. Michelle Harris), she would have 14 days to forward the report to the “appropriate person with authority to take action recommended in the report.”

There were also several ordinances requesting signage changes, landmark fee waivers, package good licenses and Class Six-B Tax Incentives–which are used to encourage industrial development.

Of the 13 new members of the City Council, Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41) and Ald. Brian Hopkins (2) were the only two members to introduce new business and be listed as co-sponsors. Ald. Hopkins co-sponsored the IG ordinance and Ald. Napolitano co-sponsored an ordinance to amend the Municipal Code to add the “Chicago Apprenticeship Earned Credit Program”. Ald. Pat O’Connor (40), Ald. Margaret Laurino (39), Ald. Michael Zalewski (23), Ald. Michele Smith (43), and Ald. Brendan Reilly are the other sponsors.

Reports of Standing Committees

Only two City Council Committees, Zoning and Finance, met since the last City Council meeting earlier this month. But since Ald. Ed Burke moved to carry over pending Zoning ordinances into the new term, the City Council only approved recommendations brought forth by the Finance Committee, which includes $771,320 in legal settlements related to a class action lawsuit filed against the city for illegal permit parking receipts and a medical malpractice suit related to an incident at a city run health clinic. The Council also approved additional bonds to the Goldblatt’s senior living center project in the Back of the Yards neighborhood. Details on these ordinances are in our previous Finance Committee report here.

New Business (Introduced Items) from Mayor, City Departments, Clerk

  1. Ordinance from the Commissioner of Planning and Development & Mayor’s Office to authorize the execution of a redevelopment agreement with Mabel Park Market Place. It was referred to Finance.
  2. Ordinance from the Commissioner of Planning and Development & Mayor’s Office to authorize the execution of a Multi-Family Loan Agreement and associated loan modification in subordination with Newbury Park Preservation Associates, LP. It was referred to Finance.
  3. Ordinance from the Commissioner of Planning and Development & Mayor’s Office to authorize the execution of an intergovernmental agreement with the Board of Education for TIF assistance for Amundsen High school.  It was referred to Finance.
  4. Ordinance from the Chief Financial Officer & Mayor’s Office to authorize “inducement language” for issuance of 2015 general obligation bonds and an associated authority to select an agent to issue the bonds. It was referred to Finance.
  5. Ordinance from the Commissioner of Planning and Development & Mayor’s Office to authorize the execution of a loan agreement and associated TIF assistance for Montclair Senior Resident SLF. It was referred to Finance.
  6. Ordinance from the Commissioner of Planning and Development & Mayor’s Office to authorize a redevelopment agreement with Maple Jack, LLC and associated provision of tax credits. It was referred to Finance.
  7. Ordinance from the Commissioner of Planning and Development & Mayor’s Office to authorizing the sale of city owned property. It was referred to Housing and Real Estate.
  8. Ordinance from the Commissioner of Planning and Development & Mayor’s Office to authorize the amendment to a previously passed land sale.  It was referred to Housing and Real Estate.
  9. Ordinance from the Commissioner of Planning and Development & Mayor’s Office to authorize the extension of an agreement between the city of Chicago and the Low Income Housing Trust Fund.  It was referred to Housing and Real Estate.
  10. Ordinance from the Commissioner of Cultural Affairs & Special Events & Mayor’s Office to amend parts of the Municipal Code regarding alcohol consumption at Navy Pier.  It was referred to Licensing and Consumer Protection.
  11. Ordinance from the Commissioner of Planning and Development & Mayor’s Office to authorize the expenditure of open space impact fees for Kennicott Park. It was referred to Special Events & Cultural Affairs.
  12. Ordinance from the Commissioner of Public Health to amend the Municipal Code regarding urban composting. It was referred to Zoning.
  13. Appointment of Ginger Evans as Commissioners of Aviation. It was referred to Aviation.
  14. Appointment of Jay M. Michael as a member of Special Service Area 34, the Uptown Commission, for a term effective immediately to succeed Charles A. Lawrence whose term has expired. It was referred to Finance.
  15. Appointments to “various Special Service Areas”. It was referred to Finance.
  16. Ordinance to amend Section 9-68-020 of Municipal Code to further regulate residential parking permits. It was referred to Licensing and Consumer Protection.

2015-2019 Committee Assignments 
Ranked in order of 2015 budget size. Management of committee budgets and staffing, are at the description of the chair.

Finance – Ed Burke (14)
Budget: $2,256,284
Vice-Chair: Patrick O’Connor (40)

Budget and Government Operations – Carrie Austin (34)
Budget: $520,250
Vice-Chair: Jason Ervin (28)

Workforce Development and Audit – Patrick O’Connor (40)
Budget: $514,312
Vice-Chair: Roberto Maldonado (26)

Zoning, Landmarks, and Building Standards – Danny Solis (25)
Budget: $385,184
Vice-Chair: James Cappleman (46)

Mayor Pro Tempore (also oversees Legislative Reference Bureau) – Margaret Laurino (39)
LRB Budget: $353,081

Education and Child Development – $205,609
Chair: Will Burns (4)
Vice-Chair: Michele Smith (43)

Housing and Real Estate – $196,506
Chair: Joe Moore (49)
Vice-Chair: Pat Dowell (3)

Committees, Rules, and Ethics – Michelle Harris (8)
Budget: $140,508
Vice-Chair: Ed Burke

Public Safety – Ariel Reboyras (30)
Budget: $121,789
Vice-Chair: Willie Cochran (20)

License and Consumer Protection – Emma Mitts (38)
Budget: $120,081
Vice-Chair: Debra Silverstein (50)

Economic, Capital, and Technology Development – Howard Brookins (21)
Budget: $110,135
Vice-Chair: Leslie Hairston (5)

Aviation – Michael Zalewski (23)
Budget: $104,293
Vice-Chair: Ameya Pawar (47)

Health and Environmental Protection – George Cárdenas (12)
Budget: $89,170
Vice-Chair: Harry Osterman (48)

Human Relations – Joe Moreno (1)
Budget: $89,098
Vice-Chair: Jason Ervin (28)

Breakdowns of Committee Chairs by Caucuses

Hispanic Caucus –
Chairmanships (4): Human Relations, Health and Environmental Protection, Public Safety, Zoning

Vice-Chairmanships (1): Workforce Development and Audit

Black Caucus –

Chairmanships (5): Economic, Technology, and Capital Development; License and Consumer Protection; Committees, Rules, and Ethics; Education and Child Development; Budget and Government Operations

Vice-Chairmanships (5): Human Relations; Economic, Capital, and Technology Development; Public Safety; Housing and Real Estate; Budget and Government Operations

Progressive Caucus –

Chairmanships (0)

Vice-Chairmanships (1): Economic, Capital, and Technology Development

Paul Douglas Alliance –

Chairmanships (3): Human Relations; Housing and Real Estate; Education and Child Development

Vice Chairmanships (5); Aviation, Housing and Real Estate; Education and Child Development; Zoning, Landmarks, and Building Standards; Finance