The Council Committee that oversees the city’s new independent budget office–commonly referred to as “COFA”–met yesterday afternoon to appoint a Vice Chair, Ald. Ed Burke (14), and officially approve the appointment of Ben Winick to lead the office. The meeting took close to an hour, and more than half of it was closed to the public in executive session, at Ald. Burke’s request.
Members Present: Chairman Carrie Austin (34), Ald. Pat Dowell (3), Ald. Ed Burke (14), Ald. Ameya Pawar (47), Joseph Pijanowski*
Others Present: Ald. Michele Smith (43), Ald. John Arena (45), Ben Winick
*Pijanowski, with the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers Local 126A, is the labor representative on the committee.
Ald. Burke replaces Carole Brown, who forfeited her committee spot when Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed her as the city’s new Chief Financial Officer. At the meeting, Burke jokingly asked Chairman Austin if being Vice Chair means that he gets an additional appropriation. She said no, and Ald. Pat Dowell chimed in to say, “only if you share”.
Shortly after the committee approved the first item on the agenda by voice vote, Ald. Burke moved to, “evolve into a closed door executive session,” to discuss the second item on the agenda, the appointment of Ben Winick as Financial Analyst for COFA. Chairman Austin approved the order and committee members walked out and convened a private meeting in a neighboring room for approximately 30 minutes. When they returned, Ald. Burke moved to appoint Winick to a four year term. The committee approved the motion by voice vote and Chairman Austin adjourned the meeting.
Winick was present, but he did not testify before the committee and declined to speak to reporters after the committee approved his appointment.
Chairman Austin will recommend Winick’s appointment to the full Council later this month.