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Emanuel Putting Together Financial Team To Bring Fiscal Stability

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Mayor Elect Rahm Emanuel addresses the press at the Union League Club in Chicago.  (Credit: CBS)

Mayor Elect Rahm Emanuel addresses the press at the Union League Club in Chicago. (Credit: CBS)

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Faced with a worsening budget picture, Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel is putting a financial team together to make the tough decisions to bring fiscal stability.

Business exec Mark Angelson will take a dollar-a-year salary to be Deputy Mayor for economic and budgetary matters. And Rahm Emanuel says he’ll chair a council consisting of the City’s Budget Director, Chief Financial Officer and others, whose task will be to find, and get rid of, waste and inefficiency.

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His cabinet includes experts in mergers and downsizing, and with an operating deficit Emanuel pegs crains.

A former Fortune 500 CEO has agreed to serve as Rahm Emanuel’s $1-a-year deputy mayor and chair a council charged with solving Chicago’s financial crisis, “re-inventing” city government and promoting economic growth.

Mark Angelson will lead a high-powered economic team under the mayor-elect that also includes Chief Financial Officer Lois Scott and Budget Director Alexandra Holt.

Angelson is a mergers-and-acquisitions specialist who presided over a major consolidation of the printing industry during a four-year stint as CEO of Chicago-based RR Donnelley.

After leaving RR Donnelley, he served as chairman of MidOcean Partners, a London-based investment firm, and chairman of World Color Press. He is an attorney who serves as a trustee of Northwestern University, where he teaches mergers and acquisitions at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management.

Despite a slight uptick in revenues, the city remains on the brink of bankruptcy with a structural deficit approaching $1 billion when under-funded employee pensions are factored in.

The newly created Economic, Budgetary and Business Development Council chaired by Angelson will include Chicago’s CFO, budget director, chief technology officer, comptroller and chief procurement officer.

In addition to promoting job growth, they will be charged with “asking the tough questions about what services city government should provide and what can be done to bring down costs to provide taxpayers with the best service for the best price,” officials said.

That’s a tall order, according to Civic Federation President Laurence Msall.

“In order to stabilize the city’s finances, it’s going to take a massive reinvention of what are the priority services the city will continue to deliver and the elimination of all non-essential services. Even essential services like garbage will have to be modernized to reflect much more economical systems and less staff,” Msall said.

Emanuel has spent the week unveiling the teams of appointees he has chosen to address Chicago’s most pressing issues: education, transportation and city finances.

Over the years, Mayor Daley has had a progression of fair-haired boys follow meteoric paths through city government before flaming out.

The roster includes: Forrest Claypool, David Doig, John Harris, Paul Vallas, Bill Abolt, John Roberson, Rich Rodriguez and Ron Huberman. They all hop-scotched from job to job and city agency to city agency before falling out of favor with the notoriously demanding mayor.

Emanuel chose Claypool to serve as CTA president. But, rather than fixating on individuals, the new mayor favors the team approach.

“He believes there’s no one perfect person but perfect teams,” said a source close to the mayor-elect.

“Daley would fall in love with people and blow hot and cold with them. Rahm favors teams. You pick a leader. But, you surround them with a team that every good leader needs to succeed.”
At 500 to 700 million dollars alone, those talents are likely to come into play.

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