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.


by James R. Scott, The Chicago Times

June 24, 2021

CHICAGO — The Chicago City Council addressed a letter to Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Thursday, requesting that she “respect and consistently observe” the body’s rules of order.

After a tense meeting on Wednesday that ended abruptly, the letter was forwarded to Lightfoot, postponing the confirmation of Lightfoot’s nomination for chief legal officer and a contentious vote to rename a section of Lake Shore Drive.

“We, the undersigned members of the Chicago City Council, hereby call on you – in your current capacity as Presiding Officer – to honor and consistently follow the 2019-2023 Rules of Order and Procedure of the City Council…We have seen multiple instances in recent meetings where the various judgements issued by you as Presiding Officer have been contradictory and/or in direct disagreement with the Rules of Order and Procedure…The Rules of Order and Procedure were adopted by the body to ensure a fair and transparent process for legislative movement…Any deviation from them is not only unacceptable and illegal, but also a manipulation of our democratic process.”

The following aldermen – nearly half of the 50 total members of City Council – signed the letter:

  • Ald. Daniel La Spata, 1st Ward
  • Ald. Sophia King, 4th Ward
  • Ald. Leslie Hairston, 5th Ward
  • Ald. Roderick Sawyer, 6th Ward
  • Ald. Anthony Beale, 9th Ward
  • Ald. Ed Burke, 14th Ward
  • Ald. Raymond Lopez, 15th Ward
  • Ald. Stephanie Coleman, 16th Ward
  • Ald. David Moore, 17th Ward
  • Ald. Jeanette Taylor, 20th Ward
  • Ald. Michael Rodriguez, 22nd Ward
  • Ald. Silvana Tabares, 23rd Ward
  • Ald. Byron Sigcho-Lopez, 25th Ward
  • Ald. Roberto Maldonado, 26th Ward
  • Ald. Rossana Rodriguez, 33rd Ward
  • Ald. Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, 35th Ward
  • Ald. Gilbert Villegas, 36th Ward
  • Ald. Andre Vasquez, 40th Ward
  • Ald. Anthony Napolitano, 41st Ward
  • Ald. Jim Gardiner, 45th Ward
  • Ald. Matt Martin, 47th Ward
  • Ald. Maria Hadden, 49th Ward