CHICAGO — Mayor Lori Lightfoot presided over her second City Council meeting Wednesday morning.
This is the mayor’s first time presiding over a regularly-scheduled full council meeting, and there was an eye out for any interaction between Lightfoot and the city’s longest-serving alderman, Ed Burke. Verbal sparring broke out in the chamber two weeks ago, but was cordial and procedural Wednesday.
The sparks actually flew during public comment, when the first Vice Chair of the Fraternal Order of Police, Patrick J. Murray, sounded off and said the mayor is pushing police reform without input from the union.
“What you failed to do, Mayor, was you failed to take and ask the FOP for our input. That’s what you failed to do,” he said. “This job is too difficult. It’s becoming more and more difficult. Police officers across this country are getting murder on a daily basis.”
Lightfoot, not one to shy away from confrontation, fried back.
“Mr, Murray, anytime that the FOP wants to do anything other than obstruct and object to reform, I’d be more than willing to meet with you,” she said.
Also Wednesday, Lightfoot introduced new ethics proposals, including:
- Restricting certain types of outside employment.
- Expanded Inspector General oversight.
- Increasing the fines for ethics violations.
- Broadening the definition of lobbyists.
“I recognize that we are pushing people out of their comfort zone which we will continue to do. But we can’t continue to do business as usual,” she said.
Lightfoot is extending an olive branch. She said she does not support taking away aldermen’s control of street resurfacing money, as the City Inspector General suggests.
In other business, the council approved Lightfoot’s appointments of Mark Flessner as Corporation Counsel, Susie Parks as Budget Director and Marisa Novara as Housing Commissioner.
Also, one day after a $3.7 million settlement for a woman paralyzed in a 2014 car crash was rejected in committee, the full council approved it. A lawsuit alleged that a city intersection was improperly designed when a drunken motorist had an accident injuring the woman.
“The administration made a case to a number of my colleagues that if we risk it in court there might be a chance that we would be forced to pay more,” 15th Ward Alderman Raymond Lopez said.
Lightfoot has clashed with the aldermen over some of her changes but she got a rousing ovation when she announced City Council meetings for the rest of the year are now posted.
The next meeting is July 24.