CHICAGO — Mayor Brandon Johnson’s handpicked City Council Floor Leader is out.
On Monday, Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th Ward) resigned from his leadership post and stepped down as chairman of the Zoning Committee following allegations of bullying.
After a weekend of calls for his resignation, Ramirez-Rosa announced that he would be stepping down in a press release on Monday.
“Tensions were high at a chaotic meeting, and I let that get the best of me, leading me to act in a way unbecoming of a leader. I sincerely apologize to my colleague, Alderwoman Emma Mitts, for the disrespectful interaction outside of Council Chambers. I also apologize to other colleagues who I have heard also felt disrespected and harmed by my actions — Alderpeople Lee, Cardona, and Taliaferro,” Ramirez-Rosa said.
Members of the Chicago Aldermanic Black Caucus (CABC) allege that Ramirez-Rosa physically and verbally harassed Alderwoman Emma Mitts (37th Ward). Colleagues accuse Ramirez-Rosa of standing outside the Council chamber doors and trying to prevent a quorum for last Thursday’s special meeting.
Thursday’s special meeting had been called by alderpeople who supported an advisory referendum that would ask Chicago voters whether Chicago should remain a sanctuary city.
At least 26 alderpeople must be present for the referendum vote to take place, but after several attempts, the fractured body came up short.
“I feel awful about everything that happened. I have reached out to my colleagues to apologize directly and seek to make amends. I made mistakes, and I learned valuable lessons. I take full responsibility for what I’ve done,” Ramirez-Rosa said in a statement released Monday morning.
On Monday, at City Hall, Alderman Derrick Curtis (18th Ward) said he hopes the alleged Ramirez-Rosa incident acts as a reset moment.
“It was getting out of hand. It almost becomes us against them, and it should never be that way,” Curtis said.
Alderman Gilbert Villegas (36th Ward), a former floor leader under Mayor Lightfoot, says Ramirez-Rosa may have been a bit too aggressive behind the scenes whipping votes for Mayor Johnson.
“It was either 100% or nothing, and that’s just not how democracy works. I can tell you it doesn’t work at my house that way. You’ve got to have those discussions, you’ve got to have compromise without threat, without trying to intimidate folks,” Villegas said.
Mayor Johnson released a statement regarding Ramirez-Rosas actions on Monday:
Over the weekend, I spoke with Alderwoman Emma Mitts and Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa. Yesterday, Alderman Ramirez-Rosa and I agreed he should step down from his positions as Chicago City Council Floor Leader and Chair of the Committee on Zoning, Landmarks, and Building Standards.
Alderwoman Mitts is a venerable leader and woman of abiding faith, who is committed to public service and the principles of accountability and mercy. Alderman Ramirez-Rosa has acknowledged his transgressions, apologized to his colleagues and committed himself to rebuilding trust.Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson
Following the news of Ramirez-Rosa’s resignation from his leadership position, the CABC released another statement:
While the last several days have been both challenging and extremely emotional for our caucus, we are well pleased and grateful with the tone, temperament, and quick response from Mayor Brandon Johnson in bringing closure to this issue involving our beloved and well-respected colleague, Alderman Emma Mitts.
In addition, while as a caucus we stand firm in our condemnation of Alderman Ramirez-Rosa’s actions against Alderman Mitts, we are equally satisfied with his atonement, remorse, and decision to resign his posts as the mayor’s floor leader and as Chairman of the Committee on Zoning, Landmarks, and Building Standards.Chicago Aldermanic Black Caucus
Alderman Scott Waugespeck (32nd Ward) has drafted a letter calling for Ramirez-Rosa to be censured, a tremendous fallout that comes even before Ald. Mitts has talked about the matter publicly.
The council is set to meet again on Tuesday.