CHICAGO (CBS/WBBM) – If the City Council approves, three new Chicago aldermen will take their seats in the chamber on Thursday.
As WBBM Newsradio 780 Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, Mayor Richard M. Daley named appointments to three vacant seats on Wednesday.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780 Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports
Community organizer and activist Shirley Newsome, 65, will take the place of former 4th Ward Ald. Toni Preckwinkle, who left the City Council to take over as Cook County Board President. Jason Ervin, 36, who has served as the village manager of west suburban Maywood, will take over the 28th Ward seat recently vacated by the retiring Ed Smith. Timothy Cullerton, 61, a longtime first deputy Buildings Department commissioner, takes over for Tom Allen, who left his 38th Ward post to become a judge.
Newsome does not plan to run for a full term as alderman in February, but Ervin and Cullerton both do. However, Mayor Daley, who is retiring at the end of his present term next year, emphasizes that an appointment does not constitute an endorsement.
“I have not made an endorsement. They’re the interim aldermen. They will stand for their election in their respective wards. They know that,” Daley said Wednesday.
Cullerton is a member of a family that has controlled the Northwest Side’s 38th Ward almost continuously since the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. His father, Thomas Cullerton, was a longtime alderman who died in 1993 and was replaced by Allen. Thomas Cullerton’s uncle, William Cullerton, served as alderman before him.
In fact, a Cullerton has served in the seat for 107 of the last 139 years, and it is nicknamed “the Cullerton seat.”
Asked why he picked another Cullerton, Daley said, “Tim has been an excellent public employee. He’s been here in the [Building] Department, made many changes … He’s lived in the community. He could have moved out. … He decided to stay. His children stayed. His grandchildren. He’s committed to the city of Chicago. So, I’m very proud” of the appointment.
Cullerton, 61, pledged to focus on jobs, public safety and education. His ward stands to lose police officers in Police Supt. Jody Weis’ upcoming reallocation plan.
Ervin, 36, is hoping to do for the 28th Ward what he did for Maywood, where he managed a $40 million budget and 250 employees.
“We went from a community with double-digit homicides on an annual basis to this past calendar year, when we had no homicides in the Village of Maywood,” he said.
Ten sitting aldermen have chosen not to stand for re-election in a difficult year for incumbents.
The Chicago Sun-Times contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire