Ward Room
Covering Chicago's nine political influencers

Emanuel Names New Chief to Scandal-Ridden Department

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Chicago's Mayor-Elect, Rahm Emanuel, appointed a former public defender to head the city's scandal-ridden Department of Buildings.

Michael Merchant is an attorney who's also been serving as deputy director of the mayor's Office of Intergovernmental Affairs.

Although Merchant is now a city-hall insider, Emanuel believes his strong legal background makes him perfect to lead a department famous for corruption and controversy, including the E2 nightclub tragedy, and the fatal Lincoln Park porch collapse.

Outgoing Mayor Richard Daley will host an open house on Monday, an informal way to say goodbye and thank his supporters.

Daley has just one week left in office.

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