Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot’s transition team presented an ambitious agenda on Friday, outlining numerous reform efforts that the new mayor will hope to tackle when she takes office on Monday.
As Mayor Rahm Emanuel prepares to leave office, Lightfoot’s team presented their transition reports, aiming to change the way that the mayor’s office does business on police issues, housing concerns, and education policy.
Among the changes, Mayor-elect Lightfoot plans to make several changes to the committee structure, including creating a new Committee on Ethics and Good Governance, which will be chaired by 43rd Ward Alderman Michelle Smith. The Committee on Public Health and Human Relations and the Committee on Environment and Energy, which were combined under one committee under Emanuel’s administration, will be split up, according to proposals released by Lightfoot’s office.
Finally, a Committee on Contracting Oversight and Ethics will be chaired by Alderman Carrie Austin. The committee will “focus on matters relating to minority and women-owned businesses contracting with the city,” according to the report.
“Chicagoans expect us to deliver on our government to end the old way of doing business in City Council, and this proposal will begin to chart that course,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “We worked hard to ensure diversity in committee leadership, and to empower aldermen who will help achieve our mission of a more transparent and accountable City Council.”
Lightfoot made numerous proposals for committee leaders, including new chairmen for the Committee on Finance and the Committee on Zoning, Landmarks, and Building Standards:
Committee on Finance: Ald. Scott Waguespack
Committee on Budget and Government Operations: Ald. Pat Dowell
Committee on Economic, Capital, and Technology Development: Ald. Gilbert Villegas
Committee on Zoning, Landmarks, and Building Standards: Ald. Tom Tunney
Committee on Workforce Development: Ald. Susan Sadlowski-Garza
Committee on Transportation and Public Way: Ald. Howard Brookins
Committee on Committees and Rules: Ald. Michell e Harris
Committee on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety: Walter Burnett Jr.
Committee on Special Events, Cultural Affairs, and Recreation: Ald. Nicholas Sposato
Committee on Education and Child Development: Ald. Michael Scott Jr.
Committee on Aviation: Ald. Matthew O’Shea
Committee on Public Safety: Ald. Chris Taliaferro
Committee on Housing and Real Estate: Ald. Harry Osterman
Committee on Health and Human Relations: Ald. Roderick T. Sawyer
Committee on Environmental Protection and Energy: Ald. George Cárdenas
Committee on License and Consumer Protection: Ald. Emma Mitts
In addition to the new assignments, which exclude Alderman Ed Burke as he faces federal charges, Lightfoot’s office plans to issue an executive order on limiting the practice of aldermanic privilege, a practice aldermen can use to block city council or government actions concerning their own wards.
Aside from setting up her new administration, Lightfoot is going to face the immediate challenge of drafting a budget. Before his final day in office, Emanuel projected that the city would face a $700 million shortfall, but Lightfoot says the real total is even higher.
“I know that number has been put out by the Emanuel administration, but it’s worse than that,” she said.
Even facing all of those concerns, Lightfoot is also going to savor the moment as she takes office, becoming the first African-American woman to ascend to the office of mayor, as well as the first gay mayor in the city’s history.
“This is a very special moment. I spoke with my mom this morning, and she and the rest of my family are going to be descending on Chicago this afternoon,” she said. “I’m looking forward to this moment. As folks have kept reminding me, this moment is only going to happen once.”