ABOVE: Mayor Lori Lightfoot holds news conference after Chicago City Council meeting
CHICAGO — The Chicago City Council voted unanimously to appoint former Dallas police superintendent David Brown as the city’s new top cop Wednesday.
During the first-ever council meeting held completely online, members voted 50-0 to approve Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s pick for police superintendent.
“I am very humbled and I feel extremely privileged to serve the citizens of Chicago, the residents of Chicago and I look forward to meeting each and every one of you, riding in your districts and getting to you know and you getting to know me a lot better,” Brown said Wednesday.
Brown will be tasked with trying to reduce gun violence, negotiating a new union contract, making sure the police department keeps up with its federally-mandated consent decree and adapting to the current crisis caused by COVID-19.
The process to approve Brown moved quickly after Lightfoot announced she wanted him in the job on April 2, and there was no debate among the aldermen about his appointment Wednesday.
Things did not go smoothly when it came to a measure expanding the mayor’s spending and contracting power, which the body did not take up Wednesday.
The ordinance would give the city’s Chief Procurement Officer the authority to approve emergency contracts of up to $1 million dollars and allow the Budget Director to spend and move funds within city departments.
Instead, Lightfoot foes Alderman Raymond Lopez and Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa moved to defer and publish. The rules were suspended and the Council adjourned until Friday.
It was an embarrassing setback for Mayor Lightfoot who fully intended to pass the expansion of her powers. The emergency powers would expire on June 30 unless aldermen approved an extension.
Several Black Caucus members voted against the measure, saying they wanted more say on how money is spent to combat COVID-19. Some aldermen say they’re willing to meet weekly to carry out their oversight duties.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, many residents focused on the Hilco smokestack demolition and rent and mortgage relief.
Several speakers weighed in on Alderman Matt Martin’s ordinance that would allow some people up to 12 months to pay back rent. Angry landlords spoke out.