CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, grading his own first month in office, today gave the Board of Education high marks for its vote to cancel raises for teachers.
CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports on the “mayoral report card,” including areas where Emanuel feels improvement is needed.
He joked about how that it comes as the school year comes to an end and children’s report cards are being issued as well. He told a story about his parents putting his report cards up on the refrigerator for all to see.
He called today’s report card part of his effort to be accountable to the public. When we asked what grade he’d give himself for the first 30 days he said he would “give myself an incomplete.”
“Although, I will say this about my cabinet and administration, they’ve been working tirelessly and I’d give them an A.”
He stood beside placards restating goals for his first 100 days, with check marks by those promises kept. Among them: Posting on-line, the names and compensation of those lobbying city officials.
“There’s no more hiding the ball, regarding who is paying lobbyists, who the client is and how much they’re receiving to represent them,” Emanuel said.
Ironically, it was the mayor’s own residency attorney, Mike Kasper, who CBS 2 found online to be one of the highest paid lobbyists. He made nearly half a million dollars last year. Kasper’s firm represented a variety of clients, including UPS, Apple and Advocate Health Care Network.
One of the most significant events since the mayor strode into City Hall a month ago, was yesterday’s school board vote to cancel teacher raises. And he pulled no punches in calling that a step forward.
He said that while the teachers were getting raises year after year, and city officials enjoyed labor peace, “our children got the shaft.”
He noted that Chicago still has one of the shortest school days in the nation, and restated his commitment to change that.
Emanuel was asked whether he can point to something that proved harder to accomplish that first thought.
“Of course I’ve made mistakes, it comes with the obvious,” he said. “When I start the morning, [Emanuel’s wife] Amy usually has five or six for me to cite, and by 11 o’clock she calls back with the other four.”
Despite those mistakes, which he declined to specify, he feels he’s gotten a good start toward keeping the promises he made to voters: working to attract jobs, improve schools, putting the city’s finances in order and making neighborhoods safer.
But 30 days in to a four-year term, incomplete is really the only grade you can give.