Burke steps down as Finance Committee chairman after federal charge, Emanuel says

CHICAGO — Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Friday that Ald. Ed Burke would step down from his position as chairman of the City Council Finance Committee.

The 14th Ward alderman was charged with attempted extortion Thursday. He's accused of trying to shake down a major fast-food restaurant chain seeking city remodeling permits.

Emanuel spoke to the media about the charge against Burke for the first time Friday

"You can make all the changes you need to make, and changes to laws. But, all that being done does not replace having a moral and ethical compass that informs your judgement of right from wrong, and what is appropriate, and knowing full well that as public servants, it's incumbent upon us to know why we are in public life," Emanuel said at a South Side CTA event..

The mayor also said he and the new Finance Committee Chairman, Ald. Pat O'Connor, will push forward with removing the management of the city's workers compensation program from the committee to a city department. He also said he'll introduce an ethics reform package next week.