Battle Brewing in City Hall? Lightfoot to Take On Aldermanic Privilege - NBC Chicago
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Battle Brewing in City Hall? Lightfoot to Take On Aldermanic Privilege



    City Council Battle: Lightfoot Versus 'Aldermanic Privilege'

    With six days until Mayor-Elect Lori Lightfoot is sworn in, on Tuesday she briefed aldermen on her plans to limit their power, though not everyone is on board when it comes to doing away with what’s known as "aldermanic privilege." NBC 5's Mary Ann Ahern has the latest.

    (Published Tuesday, May 14, 2019)

    A big fight is brewing for Mayor-elect Lori Lightfooot and some say it could even lead to new council wars.

    Lightfoot looks to do away with aldermanic privilege -- but some of the aldermen are promising a showdown.

    "I just call it for what it is," Ald. Ray Lopez said. "You're going to say what our job description is not what you want anymore, than she should just say we don't want aldermen period."

    It depends on which alderman you speak to -- some are completely on board and say after Ald. Ed Burke's troubles there needs to be limitations. Others on the council say they are not about to give up the privilege that allows them to block action in their ward.

    Lopez isn't the only one not happy -- Lightfoot looks to fulfill a campaign promise and issue on day one an executive order to limit aldermanic privilege. It's a source of debate after Burke's federal investigation.

    Ald. Anthony Beale said "an executive order to accomplish this is -- I think is overreaching."

    Ald. Nick Sposato said "I certainly don't want to be at war, I don't there's going to be a war, I think there's confusion about what's going to be done and how its going to be handled."

    Ald. Carlos Ramirez Rosa shared a slide that was part of the briefing -- stating aldermen will have a voice but no longer a veto on permits and licensing.

    "Rather than an alderman just picking up the phone and saying stop that permit, it means the aldermen more than likely will have a set criteria that says -- if you want to stop that permit -- you need to choose one of these reasons," he said.

    "We need to take a fresh approach as to how aldermen do their jobs," Ald. Michelle Smith said.

    Still, with less than six days to go until Lightfoot is sworn in -- some are wondering if we may see council wars 2.0.

    "It's not picking a fight, she made campaign promises like we all did," Alderman-elect Jeanette Taylor said.

    Not just aldermanic privilege -- Taylor and the others gathered here today who support police reform, but not the plan Lightfoot favors.

    "I came down here to make sure Chicago is a city that works for everybody," Taylor said.

    So, when it comes to Lightfoot's plan to limit aldermanic privilege, if the aldermen oppose her executive order they will need 35 votes to do so ... that will be hard to gather.

    Still, there is plenty of uncertainty.

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