BGA: City Council Should Declare Independence From Heavy Handed Lightfoot

By Edward LaSalle, The Chicago Times

September 24, 2022

CHICAGO – The Better Government Association has recommended that the Chicago City Council should take steps to be more independent from Mayor Lori Lightfoot by choosing its own committee chairs.

According to the Better Government Association, both state law and Roberts Rules of Order does give the City Council the authority to choose its own committee chairs.  However, that power has always been relinquished to the sitting mayor of Chicago, which has forever depicted the council as a mayoral rubber stamp.  Currently, Chicago is the only major city that allows its mayor to dictate who will be council committee chairs.

“Leadership positions are more than symbolic: Committees come with their own budgets and staff, are overseen by the chairs, and chairs traditionally set the agenda and decide which matters will be heard in their committees, as well. Allowing the mayor to appoint committee chairs cedes substantial power from the legislature to the administration,” Bryan Zarou, the BGA’s director of policy wrote in a statement.

However, Lightfoot, often accused of being dictatorial, has made it clear she will not cede power to her rubber stamp.

As more disgruntled Alderman exit, due to Lightfoot’s heavy handedness, Zarou urged the City Council to use this opportunity to take back control from the mayor.

“The Better Government Association Policy team urges City Council to take this opportunity to act as an independent, co-equal branch of government, both by taking up Ald. Martin’s resolution and by appointing an active and engaged leader as chair of the education committee,” Zarou wrote in a statement.