The Committee on Education and Child Development approved Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s appointment of Lisa Morrison Butler as the new commissioner in charge of the Department of Family and Supportive Services (DFSS) and all of the Mayor’s picks for the governing body in charge of the City Colleges of Chicago (CCC). Even though it was the committee’s first meeting since Ald. Will Burns (4) took over retired Ald. Latasha Thomas’ (17) seat as Chairman, and in a week with relatively few committee meetings, quorum was not established.

Committee Members Present: Chairman Will Burns (4), Ald. Raymond Lopez (15), Ald. Matt O’Shea (19), Ald. Jason Ervin (28), Ald. Nick Sposato (38), Ald. Michele Smith (43)

Mayor Emanuel announced Butler’s appointment at the beginning of the month, saying she will “help quarterback some of the most critical items on my second term agenda,” from progress on the Mayor’s universal pre-K program to an expansion of youth violence prevention programs. In a brief three minute testimony in front of the Committee, Morrison Butler said she was grateful for a chance to help the city’s most vulnerable populations.

She also pledged to protect services amid increased state and federal budget cuts. But when Ald. Michele Smith (43) asked if she knew how proposed state budget cuts could impact city services from DFSS, Morrison Butler said she’s not a “budget expert” and is working on briefing with her staff. She said DFSS staff numbers more than double in the summer months–from 340 full-time to roughly 700 full-time and seasonal staff. DFSS delivers educational, homelessness, domestic violence, and workforce development programs to more than 300,000 Chicagoans.

The committee also approved four new appointments and two reappointments to the Board of Trustees of Community College District No. 508, the governing body that operates and manages the City Colleges of Chicago (CCC). When Mayor Emanuel announced the appointments earlier this month, he said the leadership change was part of CCC’s push to complete its Reinvention Initiative, a long-term plan to improve the school system and fill a skills gap in the city.

None of the appointees were asked to testify before the committee and their appointments were approved as one item. The two reappointments include Clarisol Duque, Chicago Director and Chief of Staff to U.S. Senator Dick Durbin, and Marisela Lawson, a partner and founder at Sagence Group, a data analytics consulting firm. The four newly appointed trustees to the Board include:

  • Dr. Charles Middleton, who retired as president of Roosevelt University in April, exiting as one of the highest paid college presidents in the country. He succeeds Board Chairman Paula Wolff, an executive at the Illinois Justice Project and former president of Governors State University.

  • Gary Gardner, president and co-founder of the Chicago-based private equity firm PFG LLC. He succeeds Vice Chair Ellen Alberding, president and board member of the Joyce Foundation and founder of Advance Illinois, an advocacy group for public education reform in Illinois.

  • Sandy Goldman, a senior portfolio manager for Front Barnett Associates and a former Commissioner of the Chicago Housing Authority, to succeed Board Secretary Larry Rogers, Sr., a South Side native and founding partner of the Cook County law firm Power Rogers & Smith.

  • Karen Kent, the president of city’s hospitality workers union, UNITE HERE Local 1. UNITE HERE touts more than 15,000 hospitality workers, and gave Mayor Emanuel a TV ad push during the runoff with its “Rahm Love” ads. Kent will succeed Everett Rand, an airport contractor and part-owner of Midway Airport Concessions.

George Blakemore testified against both items on the agenda.