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How’s she doing?

If you’re keeping score (we are), here’s how Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s actions measure up against the BGA agenda published after her election.

The mayor touched off another round of grumbling recently by informing aldermen that their signatures would no longer be needed to secure approval for special event permits, landmark designations, Divvy bike stations and other city decisions. (But no, she hasn't eliminated aldermanic prerogative, as a June 13 news release prematurely boasted.) She also chipped away at city spending, closing $1.4 billion in short-term borrowing programs and hiring a risk management officer. July 1, 2019

Click on each heading below to expand a list of Lightfoot's actions.

1. Enforce a citywide standard of proactive, affirmative transparency Link to this section
Updated: 23 days ago

See the BGA Policy team's recommendations for this area at ‘The BGA's Agenda for Lori Lightfoot’

Ald. Tom Tunney, 44th, the mayor’s pick to chair the City Council’s Zoning Committee, has decided that citizens won’t be allowed to speak on individual agenda items after hearing the city staff’s presentation. They’ll be limited instead to four minutes during a designated public comment period covering the entire agenda. It looks like an attempt to contain frequent commenter George Blakemore, who isn’t the only concerned citizen in Chicago. Let the people speak, alderman.

The mayor’s proposed amendments to the ethics ordinance would broaden the definition of lobbyists, requiring those who lobby for non-profits to register and file quarterly reports.

Lightfoot’s proposed rule changes, approved by aldermen, require City Council committee meetings to be livestreamed and the recordings posted online.

2. Eliminate conflicts of interest in city government Link to this section
Updated: a month ago

See the BGA Policy team's recommendations for this area at ‘The BGA's Agenda for Lori Lightfoot’

Lightfoot introduces changes to the ethics ordinance that would prohibit aldermen from holding outside jobs that conflict with taxpayer interests.

The mayor also proposes fines of up to $5,000 for serious ethics violations. (The current ceiling is $2,000; the Chicago Board of Ethics has proposed $20,000.)

Today marks the fourth time Lightfoot has publicly called for indicted Ald. Ed Burke, 14th, to resign.

City Council approves new rule proposed by Lightfoot that requires aldermen who have conflicts of interest to recuse themselves from all discussion of the matter in question, as well as from voting

3. Transform policing for a safer Chicago Link to this section
Updated: a month ago

See the BGA Policy team's recommendations for this area at ‘The BGA's Agenda for Lori Lightfoot’

Lightfoot announces a policing initiative focused on neighborhood businesses. Each of the city’s 22 police districts will designate a “business liaison officer” to address public safety complaints and to work with the city department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection to make sure licensing requirements and other rules are followed.

4. Reset the relationship between the City Council and the mayor Link to this section
Updated: 21 days ago

See the BGA Policy team's recommendations for this area at ‘The BGA's Agenda for Lori Lightfoot’

Still working on it: City departments won't need a letter of support from an alderman to approve demolition permits, land sales, new Divvy stations, Neighborhood Opportunity Fund grants and other tax breaks in their wards. Aldermanic prerogative takes another hit.

The last paragraph of a press release about reforms to the workers’ compensation program boasts that Lightfoot has “eliminated Aldermanic Prerogative through Executive Order.” It’s a little early for a victory lap.

Presiding over her first City Council meeting, Lightfoot won approval of a plan to reorganize the committee structure. She added two new committees, installed new chairs and realigned some responsibilities. She also adjusted funding, including cutting the Finance Committee budget from $2.3 million to about $700,000.

On her first day as mayor, Lightfoot signs an executive order instructing city departments not to defer to aldermanic prerogative when granting licenses and permits. The order doesn’t curb the practice with regard to zoning; that will require amending the municipal code.

5. Strengthen oversight of all government bodies and functions Link to this section
Updated: a month ago

See the BGA Policy team's recommendations for this area at ‘The BGA's Agenda for Lori Lightfoot’

Special carve-outs that spare the City Council from full scrutiny of the Inspector General would be eliminated under Lightfoot’s proposed amendments to the ethics ordinance.

6. Wrestle the pension monster to the ground Link to this section
Updated: 17 days ago

See the BGA Policy team's recommendations for this area at ‘The BGA's Agenda for Lori Lightfoot’

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is less than lukewarm toward Lightfoot’s request for the state to take over the city’s struggling pension funds. But their meeting opened a dialogue about how Springfield and Chicago might work together, possibly helping to rescue smaller suburban and downstate pension funds, too.

7. Don’t count on new revenues to right the ship Link to this section
Updated: 8 days ago

See the BGA Policy team's recommendations for this area at ‘The BGA's Agenda for Lori Lightfoot’

A new chief risk officer will work to reduce the costs to the city from lawsuits related to police misconduct . (Last year they totaled a record $113 million.) Other savings will come from reducing vehicular accidents and workplace injuries and overhauling the workers’ comp program.

Terminating $1.4 billion in short term borrowing programs could save the city $22 million in FY 2020. About $16 million will go to the corporate fund and $6 million to improvements at O'Hare International Airport.

The mayor takes steps to professionalize the city’s $100-million-a-year workers’ compensation program, previously administered without oversight by now-indicted Ald. Ed Burke, 14th.

8. Restore public confidence in TIFs Link to this section

See the BGA Policy team's recommendations for this area at ‘The BGA's Agenda for Lori Lightfoot’

Nothing here yet!

9. Support a robust Census count followed by fair redistricting Link to this section

See the BGA Policy team's recommendations for this area at ‘The BGA's Agenda for Lori Lightfoot’

Nothing here yet!

10. Go slow on that elected school board Link to this section
Updated: 22 days ago

See the BGA Policy team's recommendations for this area at ‘The BGA's Agenda for Lori Lightfoot’

Chicago Board of Education meetings will be more transparent and yes, longer, thanks to changes ordered by Lightfoot’s new school board president, Miguel Del Valle. Board members will conduct more business in public, and translation will be provided. Meetings will be livestreamed and will be held occasionally in neighborhood sites, at hours designed to encourage public attendance.

Lightfoot replaces the entire Chicago Board of Education, appointing a new president and six members, along with naming a deputy mayor for education and human services.

A bill calling for a 21-member elected school board by 2023 stalled in the General Assembly after Lightfoot said it was a recipe for “chaos.” But she maintains her support for an elected board.


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