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Monday, August 29, 2022

Ald. Lopez plan to reform city gov't

 Speaking of mayoral contender for 2023 Ald. Ray Lopez he's proposed a series of reforms for the city. Fran Spielman writes about it today and I'm sorry I missed it before posting about Ald. Lopez asking for Nat'l Guard help for the city.

Ald. Ray Lopez (15th) on Monday unveiled a dramatic plan to rein in mayoral control and give Chicago the strong council-weak mayor form of government that the municipal code intended.
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Either by seeking a change in state law or by flexing Chicago’s home-rule powers, Lopez is promising to:
  • Cut the City Council by half, empower Council committees to approve spending by departments they oversee and give the Council its own, truly independent budget office and parliamentarian to challenge dubious mayoral rulings from the chair.
  • Create three new citywide elected officials — the corporation counsel, inspector general and city comptroller — instead of empowering the mayor to appoint “pawns” to those pivotal positions.
  • Create a 21-member Municipal Charter Commission to reexamine the structure of city government every 10 years.
The most dramatic and controversial of those changes is to reduce the size of the City Council from 50 members to just 25.
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“It is my hope that a leaner, reinvigorated City Council with new and guaranteed oversight authority and budgetary authority over departments would be able to flex its muscles accordingly and be a true partner in government,” said Lopez, one of Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s most outspoken critics.

Lopez noted that 85% of requests for city services are “handled outside the local ward office” through 311, city apps or online. When the local aldermanic office does get involved, it’s “often the stumbling block,” he said.

“We are not the City Council of the 1800s. We are a 21st century city and we need 21st century Chicago. One that is able to focus on city services as they are currently being delivered as well as focusing on the legislation and oversight that they’re meant to take care of,” he said.

Why clip the mayor’s wings with three new citywide elected officials?

“Mayoral control and authoritarianism … often comes from his or her ability to have the corporation counsel do the legal maneuvering they need to secure their power, squash or silence reports aimed at making government more efficient and to play the smoke-and-mirrors games of budgeting,” Lopez said.

“Making those three positions independently elected … would ensure there are other players on the board who will hold the mayor’s feet to the fire to ensure that they are honest, fair and representing the truth in all of their dealings.”

Well I do think it's time to re-evaluate how many Aldermen (still Alderperson or Alder ewww) must represent the city of Chicago so I'm with that. The idea of a municipal charter commission, I want to see more about that. Surely he has a page for that! 

h/t 19th Ward Chicago

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