City Council passes new ethics rules for aldermen, workweek notification rules

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CHICAGO — During a busy day at City Hall Wednesday, Chicago’s City Council took up ethics reform, fair workweeks and several other important issues.

Among the measures passed by the council was a so-called Fair Workweek ordinance, which requires large employers to give workers at least two weeks advance notice of their schedules, and compensate workers for last-minute changes.

“I’ve been low-assistance time and time again. Being low-assistance means that I’ve been sent home from a regularly scheduled work shift with no notice… [After] today’s ordinance, I’ll soon be able to get paid for my full schedule,” nursing assistant Lacresha Pierson said.

The council also signed off on new ethics reform prohibiting aldermen from representing private clients or receiving compensation in certain matters.

The change directly impacts indicted Alderman Ed Burke, whose law firm has won millions in property tax reductions for clients. While representing the clout-heavy clients, Burke would recuse himself from voting after presiding over behind-the-scenes deliberations. Aldermen will longer be able to do that.

“The rules are clear that you may not have an economic relationship that is in conflict with your first priority which is to serve the people,” Lightfoot said.

The mayor and aldermen did not miss a chance to comment on reports that for years Chicago Police conducted extensive background checks on public speakers at Police Board meetings.

“We’re in the midst of law enforcement reform where we’re trying to build trust and that trust can be severely impacted,” said Alderman Chris Tellafario (29th Ward).

The mayor ordered an end to background checks on the public.

“When I found out about it, I was extremely angry.. It’s just stupid,” Lightfoot said.

There was also another episode in the mayor’s feud with the Fraternal Order of Police Wednesday, as Lightfoot was caught on a hot mic calling FOP Vice President Patrick Murray a “clown.”

She later said she, “shouldn’t have said that out loud.”

Among the things that didn’t happen at City Council were measures backed by residents who live near the Obama Presidential Center, which include a community benefits agreement and affordable housing guarantees.


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