Chicago Mayor Emanuel Dumps City Ethics Board Members

By Reuters

Published October 03, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Wednesday the replacement of the city’s entire ethics board with seven new members, saying the new board will have the professionalism to do the job in a city notorious for corruption.

“These nominees will ensure that everyone in public office understands exactly where they stand and who they serve,” said Emanuel in a statement.

Since becoming mayor last year, Emanuel, former chief of staff to President Barack Obama, has signed six orders strengthening city ethics rules and amending the ethics ordinance to strengthen the ban against gifts and increase penalties for violations.

Chicago has long been notorious for public corruption. The city where gangster Al Capone once kept the mayor on his payroll ranked first in public corruption convictions over the past three decades, according to an analysis of U.S. Department of Justice Statistics conducted earlier this year.

The new board will be chaired by Stephen Beard, general counsel of Heidrick & Struggles, an executive search firm. Other members include former Illinois Appellate Judge Michael Gallagher; former Cook County Circuit Court Judge Julia Nowicki, who also has served as patronage monitor for Cook County; and pastor and author Mary Trout Carr.

“I think they have the kind of background and professionalism that had been absent,” Emanuel said at a news conference at City Hall Wednesday. He said he was giving the board a “fresh start.”

The board is charged with administering and enforcing the city’s ethics and campaign financing ordinances, which regulate the conduct of city employees, city vendors, lobbyists, appointed officials and elected officials like aldermen. It has had a reputation over the years for being toothless.

Emily Miller, policy and government affairs coordinator at the Better Government Association, said putting the ethics board in the spotlight is “definitely a good thing,” but it remains to be seen how much authority it will have.

The City Council will vote on the mayor’s nominees for the new ethics board at the council’s next meeting on Oct. 31, according to the mayor’s office.

Cynthia Canary, chair of the mayor’s ethics task force, said that the change in the board and the introduction of new ethics laws represent a “new attitude and commitment” toward ethics in Chicago.

“The nominees for the new board have to put a face on ethics – to let us in the public know the issues that arise and how they are resolved,” said Canary.

Also on Wednesday, the Chicago City Council approved extension of a whistleblower statute, which protects people from retaliation if they disclose misuse of city funds or authority.


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • Law professor Dan Markel waited a shocking 19 minutes for an ambulance as he lay dying after being ambushed in his driveway. Read the stunning 911 transcript as neighbor pleaded for help.
  • Happy birthday to the Boy Who Lived! July 31 marks the day that Harry Potter — and his creator, J.K. Rowling — first entered the world. Harry is a loyal Gryffindorian, a matchless wizard, a native Parseltongue speaker, and…a Jew?
  • "Orwell would side with Israel for building a flourishing democracy, rather than Hamas, which imposed a floundering dictatorship. He would applaud the IDF, which warns civilians before bombing them in a justified war, not Hamas terrorists who cower behind their own civilians, target neighboring civilians, and planned to swarm civilian settlements on the Jewish New Year." Read Gil Troy's response to Daniel May's opinion piece:
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.