CHICAGO (CBS) – Chicago First Lady Maggie Daley teamed up with Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel on Thursday to promote Mrs. Daley’s After School Matters programs.
Daley and Emanuel visited Foreman High School on the North Side to discuss the program she founded more than 20 years ago to offer Chicago teens a wide variety of free programs that help kids stay active and off the streets after school.
But, as CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports, there was something else on Emanuel’s mind, too: a report that one of Mayor Richard M. Daley’s department heads had to make cutbacks in the city’s forestry and rodent control programs because of a soaring absentee rate among union workers.
“I expect labor to be a partner in helping solve this problem,” Emanuel said. “But 33 percent – that’s the daily absentee rate – is unacceptable to meeting that objective.”
Emanuel’s throwing down the gauntlet to those doing business as usual was no surprise, nor was his commitment to Maggie Daley’s pet program, which has grown from several hundred students to tens of thousands since she founded it more than 20 years ago.
“We have 20,000 kids involved in After School Matters, all because of the leadership of one person and I can’t you enough, Maggie, on behalf of all our kids,” Emanuel said.
Among the after school activities they toured at Foreman was the Science Squad. Emanuel has vowed expand the high school program to younger students as well.
Maggie Daley vowed to stay active in the program after her husband leaves office.
The group, after all, is Maggie Daley’s legacy, just as her late mother-in-law Eleanor “Sis” Daley got credit for saving the city’s old central library.That building is now the Chicago Cultural Center and Emanuel is among those who feel it should be named for Sis Daley.
But Maggie Daley said she doesn’t think Sis Daley would have wanted her name on the Cultural Center.
“It’s not the kind of thing that Sis would have wanted I think,” she said. “I could be wrong. I think it’s nice that it was suggested and, certainly, I loved her beyond words, but it’s up for other people to decide.”
Sis Daley told the Chicago Tribune’s John Kass in 1999 that she didn’t want the Cultural Center named after her.
Maggie Daley, who has been battling cancer for years, looked healthy on Thursday and said she was feeling fine.
She was also asked what she’ll do when her husband leaves the mayor’s office and is around the house all day.
Emanuel provided the answer.
“I’ve told Maggie that I’m going to have time and that Rich can come by the office anytime he wants,” Emanuel said. “You can call up and say ‘He’s yours now from 12 to 2.”