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Emanuel: First 100 Days ‘Just The Beginning … Not Perfection’

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel presented his own report card on his first 100 days in office on Aug. 22, 2011. (Credit: CBS)

Mayor Rahm Emanuel presented his own report card on his first 100 days in office on Aug. 22, 2011. (Credit: CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) – Mayor Rahm Emanuel touted a number of accomplishments he’s made in his first 100 days in office, but said those successes were just a “down payment” on his campaign promises to overhaul city government.

WBBM Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports that the mayor offered his own report card on his first 100 days in office, displaying charts with checkmarks by a list of each of the goals that he first promised to address as he took office in May.

The mayor said he’s cut $75 million from the city budget, posted more information than ever about the city’s finances on the city website and has put more police officers on the streets.

Does that mean he’s got a perfect record so far? Emanuel said no.

“This is a down payment. This is just the beginning,” he said. “But I did want … if there’s anything – and it’s not perfection – it’s a level of accountability, a level of, both for myself to the public and my commissioners so they know what we have to get done.”

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

Emanuel said that, so far, he’s been able to cut the budget through across-the-board cuts in upper management, merging some city departments and functions and freezing non-essential government contracts, among other things.

But the overwhelming bulk of the city budget is in personnel and the mayor said he needs the city’s labor unions to agree to work rule changes if he’s going to balance the budget without big layoffs.

“It is better to work this out together,” he said. “They care about the city’s future and I can say that firsthand from all the meetings, okay? I know that, they care about the city’s future, but some of that … is gonna be on some of the changes they have to do, agree to and adopt.”

The mayor also wants to reduce the costs of providing health care for city workers.

“We spend about $400 million a year on health care, not counting the retirees. It grows at 10 percent a year. Nothing else has grown at 10 percent a year from the revenue side and it’s on an unsustainable course. If you took $50 to $60 million, $70 million out of that, that is a big savings.”

The mayor didn’t say exactly how he expects to do that, but talks have already begun with the city’s labor unions on work rule changes and those talks aren’t expected to be easy.

Later Monday, in an interview with CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine, Emanuel conceded that the 4,000 new jobs for which he is taking credit is symbolic, given the number of unemployed in Chicago. But he said the new companies will prime the pump and encourage others to come here.

“Companies will see companies investing in Chicago and saying, ‘That’s the city for us,'” Emanuel said.

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