Mayor Daley Bids Farewell To City Hall

CHICAGO (CBS/WBBM)– The changing of the guard has begun at Chicago City Hall.

Mayor Daley left his fifth-floor office for the last time late Friday afternoon, accompanied by his wife Maggie, his children and his grandchildren. He exited his fifth-floor office and took an express elevator to the lobby, where well-wishers cheered him. Daley was smiling but teary-eyed as he walked out for the final time as mayor, an office he has held for 22 years.


He took his wife’s arm to help Maggie, who used a walker, to navigate to the street.  As photographers encircled the Daley family, the mayor shook a few last hands and stepped into his waiting limo; those who could not fit in rode right behind in a silver van.

As he rode off, Daley held his hand out the window and gave a thumbs-up sign.

Daley technically is mayor until Monday, when Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel is sworn in as the city’s next top official. But Daley’s press office has not announced any appearances for him over the weekend.

Onlookers, including city employees, cheered the mayor and his wife. But they also became emotional at the departure.

“It’s incredibly emotional,” said Mayor’s Office of Special Events staffer Jennifer Kramer.  “Certainly I’m sad for myself and I’m sad for Chicago.  I’ve worked at City Hall for quite a while, and I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished.”

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Bob Roberts Reports

Earlier Friday, CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine sat down with Daley for a one-on-one interview. The exiting mayor was relaxed, unusually candid and seemed at peace with the decisions he made during his historic tenure, which began in 1989.

Daley reflected on the start of his political career and how some people wrote him off after the death of his father, Mayor Richard J. Daley.

“When you think of my dad dying, 35 years ago, and then for me to keep his legacy going and then Bill (Daley, the mayor’s brother), that is amazing,” Daley told Levine. “Everyone thought when my dad died I was gone.”

Daley added: “I’m here, I’m walking out.”

With a solid record during challenging times; unifying and beautifying the city; embracing environmental priorities; surviving a sea-change in the economy, he was personally untouched by scandal despite it involving some of his top appointees. People he would say only “disappointed him.”

He refuses to second-guess himself on appointments or decisions, the controversial parking meter deal, the Hired Truck scandal or even the infamous midnight raid that put Meigs Field out of business for good. It’s now an open green space.

“That lakefront belongs to us,” Daley said. “Most cities destroyed their lakefront (with) private property, high-rises, buildings all over. Enough about arrogance — it was smart.”

Another thing you won’t hear from him as he leaves office: the words good-bye.

“It seems like when I say goodbye I’m not gonna see you forever. I don’t like that word,” he said.

Press Secretary Jacquelyn Heard said she expects Daley to remain “Chicago’s biggest booster.”  Although she said Daley is still weighing what to do next, she has no doubt it will have something to do with the city of Chicago.

“It’s in his DNA,” she said.  “That will never leave.”

  • tom Sharp

    “The lake front belongs us…” Tell it to the “Wildings”‘ you lying sack of S–t!

    • Gregory Lewis

      Tom Sharp I am not a fan of the former mayor or any Daley. I am a pilot so you know I take the loss of Meigs field as personal and I feel it was done in a klanstein fashion.:Illegally ,gangstered and at night like a thug would.But we have to give the devil his due. Where Mayor Daley was not a very intelligent man,he had a genuine passion for the city. Preservation of the lake front and even reclaiming lake front land (at the cost of the homes of thousands of families) was his priority.

      • lemeoutahere

        Too bad the daley family wasn’t surrounded by the FBI and led off to MCC where the rightfully belong.

  • Bill Figel

    God bless a fine man.

  • Jeff Demaio

    CBS 2, please put together a DVD special to sell about Da Mayor’s years in The Office of Mayor. I would love to have footage from all of his years!! Please!!

  • Taxpayer 2

    I will miss mayor Daley. I truly believe that Mr. Daley is a outstanding individual and his wife Maggie too. It’s amazing that could be major this long.

    May the Lord continue to bless Mr. Daley and his family. Love you Mr. Daley!

  • P.R.Koduri

    Mr. Daley will ALWAYS be Mr.Mayor in Chicagoland! The City is Beutiful, Friendly, Inviting and Clean and truly the City that Works. Thank you Mr. Daley. For many Chicagoans that I know, Mr. Mayor is a personal friend eventhough they may have only met him on TV!

    • lemeouttahere

      …..dam what a shameless last attempt of a suckup. If I had to live with no dignity like the city hall cronies did, I could not look myself in the mirror.

  • mike

    What a bunch of B.S.!!! The only thing that is really happening is that we’re replacing a dumb Irish corporate figurehead puppet with a shifty-eyed arrogant Jewish one! The Daley administration’s condo-crazy narrowmindedness nearly destroyed the corner bar AND Live music in Chicago. It is my sincere hope that his succesor wil demonstrste a lot more intelligence….but I doubt it!!

  • Hattie

    The changing of the guard is taking place in city hall and we taxpayers wonder if there is gona be cut in their salaries and cut half of the alderman that are over there so we will save a lot of money to pay teachers salaries. Lots of people are out of work and loosing their homes. To celebrate anything it cost tons of cash and we have to be frugal this days. How are they gona help those unemployed and those who are looking for a job?

  • Doug

    Here’s one of his misspeaks when he was actually correct.


    Good riddance,nothing but a spoiled brat stemming from childhood.

    Good riddance.Nothing but a spoiled brat since childhood.Intiminated the media at news conferences to the point where they laughed because they were afraid for their jobs.Now shorty wants the the taxpayers to pay for his bodyguards and two free cars..Move out of the city,then you wont need bodyguards like the rest of the taxpayers.

  • frank

    Good riddance to a complete ass***e!

  • kerrie

    We will miss you. You were a true visionary for the city. Hopefully manual can fill your shoes and lead our city out of debt and into the future with as much heart as you did!!!


    If he was a “VISIONARY” the city wouldn’t be the sinking ship that it is.


  • Vienna
  • zarathrusta

    All you have to do is compare a picture of downtown (Chicago) from the Seventies or early Eighties and what the Loop looks like today. The guy did a great job.

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