Chicago City Council: Patrick J. O'Connor

Longtime alderman Patrick J. O'Connor knows his way around the council

Grizzled city council vet Patrick O'Connor seamlessly transitioned from Washington to Daley and now to Emanuel. The longtime leader of the 40th Ward, O'Connor is a part-time attorney who is now the head of the new Committee on Workforce Development and Audit. He's also Rahm Emanuel's floor leader and has quickly become one of the mayor's leading attack dogs.


Elected to the council in 1983, O'Connor has unsuccessfully tried to obtain higher political office. His failed runs include: Cook County Attorney (2) and the special election to replace Rahm Emanuel in the Illinois's 5th in 2009. He also hasn't been shy about his hiring practices. In a 1985 Chicago Tribune article, O'Connor said, "I think nepotism is a system that has been around a long time. It has worked very well in England. I don't think it's been much more of a problem here." His wife, Barbara, is a real estate broker who has sold more than $22 million in her home ward after the projects first were approved by her husband.

The Ward:
The Far North Side Ward runs from Rogers Park to Lincoln Square beginning at the corner of Devon and Greenview and ending at Lawrence and the Chicago River. The focal point of the ward is Rosehill Cemetery, which may or may not support the long standing claim that dead people have voted in Chicago.

The Office:
O'Connor has emerged as a major player in this year's budget negotiations, keeping Emanuel's rank-and-file in line while brokering compromises on issues such as library and mental health cuts. As Chairman of the Committee on Workforce Development and Audit, every city ordinance must pass across his desk. Never one to be shorted on tax increment financing funds, O'Connor has used the money to build a library and a police station in Lincoln Bend, which replaced several motels that were centers for drugs, crime and prostitution.

Workforce Development and Audit, Chairman
Finance, Vice-Chairman
The Budget and Government Operations
Committees, Rules and Ethics
Education and Child Development

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