A transition team appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel submitted about 50 pages worth of policy recommendations for his second term focusing on three issues: strengthening City Hall’s public engagement strategy, driving neighborhood economic growth, and expanding pre-K opportunities.
The group was announced in April. At the time, the Mayor’s office floated other possible areas for the group to address, like strengthening neighborhood schools, establishing protections for working families, public transit investments, and improving police and community interactions.
Sarah Pang, who Mayor Emanuel also tapped for the board of the Regional Transportation Authority, chairs the group. She spent nine years in Mayor Richard M. Daley’s administration, and serves on the board of the Chicago Loop Alliance, the sole service provider for the State Street SSA #1.
The committee also includes:
Frank Clark, President of the Business Leadership Council; Mayor’s recent appointee as President of the Chicago Board of Education
Gillian Darlow, CEO of the Polk Bros.; co-chairs the Mayor’s Lucas Cultural Arts Museum location task force
Sol Flores, ED of La Casa Norte; Mayor reappointed to the City’s Zoning Board of Appeals, served on the Low Income Housing Task Force, and the Mayor’s Municipal ID and Minimum Wage working groups
Deborah Graham, former 29th ward alderman; given $120,000 by the Mayor and his Chicago Forward PAC in the 2015 elections
Dorri McWhorter, Metropolitan YWCA CEO; Mayor appointed to the “Great Rivers Chicago” project earlier this year
David Munar, President and CEO of the Howard Brown Health Center
Jorge Ramirez, the President of the Chicago Federation of Labor; sits on the Chicago Infrastructure Trust Board and worked with the Mayor on the City’s Wellness Program for employees, the recent subject of an OIG advisory
Michael Sacks, Vice Chair of the Mayor’s World Business Chicago board; helped with the parking meter dispute between the City and Chicago Parking Meters
Juan Salgado, President and CEO of the Instituto del Progreso Latino; appointed to the Parks District Board, a City-County cooperation joint committee, and the Office of New Americans advisory committee
The committee made 18 specific recommendations in total, summed up in a press release from the Mayor’s office. Each recommendation has a suggested timeline for implementation. Its recommendations for pre-K reforms, a major platform during the Mayor’s re-election, include streamlining administration, creating a unified enrollment process between the Department of Family Support and Services and Chicago Public Schools, and targeting high need communities.
The committee also recommended increasing City Hall’s presence in neighborhoods, appointing more young members to committees and advisory boards, and creating a network of neighborhood ambassadors. Small business assistance, expansion of Transit-Oriented Developments, increased TIF transparency and streamlining, and re-imagining Planned Manufacturing Districts were all recommended in the committees economic growth recommendations. The recommendations on TOD expansion and freezing TIF districts downtown, have already been implemented.
“I am proud to accept these recommendations that reflect the priorities and aspirations of people throughout Chicago,” the Mayor said in a press release.
The Civic Consulting Alliance, a group that builds pro-bono teams of experts with help from the Commercial Club, helped develop the recommendations. City departments briefed committee members and submitted their own ideas for priorities in the Mayor’s second term.