Tomorrow, aldermen on the Council’s Public Safety Committee will be asked to change a city law mandating how the city picks its police superintendents and appoint interim Supt. Eddie Johnson as the next permanent top cop.
According to Stephen Spector, a spokesman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the measure before the Council would be a one-time fix. “This measure, which would create a one-time exemption to allow City Council to confirm Eddie Johnson as superintendent, will bring much-needed resolution and allow the Chicago Police Department to focus on the significant challenges and reforms that lie ahead,” Spector said in an emailed statement Friday.
When asked for a copy of resolution on Friday, Spector said it was still being drafted in consultation with aldermen.
The Public Safety agenda, published last Friday morning, lists two items: an ordinance that would amend the chapter of the municipal code regarding the appointment of the city’s top cop, and a communication appointing Eddie T. Johnson as Superintendent of Police. As the code is currently written (2-84-030), that job is left to the Police Board: “When a vacancy occurs in the position of superintendent of police, to nominate three candidates to fill the position and to submit those nominations to the mayor.” The Superintendent “shall be appointed by the mayor upon recommendation of the police board and with the advice and consent of the city council and shall serve at the pleasure of the mayor.”
The Police Board did just that already, spending about $500,000 on the search, according to the Chicago Sun Times. But the mayor threw out those recommendations, which he’s reminded reporters has been done before. In 2007, Mayor Richard M. Daley threw out the Police Board’s recommendations, but he didn’t change the law – the board conducted another search and submitted three new names. Eight months later, Daley appointed Jody Weis to take over. The Police Board issued a release April 1 saying it would “see how these developments play out before taking any formal action,” to start a new search.