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Ald. Mell Denies Report He Is Stepping Down

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UPDATED: 1/4/2012 5 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — Longtime alderman Dick Mell is planning to retire and wants his daughter to succeed him, according to a published report.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Mell, 75, has persuaded Mayor Rahm Emanuel to appoint State Rep. Deb Mell to the position.

When CBS 2 reached Mell by phone, the veteran politician denied the report. Even Mayor Rahm Emanuel was skeptical the end of an era has truly arrived.

“Ald. Mell has been retiring for five years,” Emanuel joked Friday while downplaying the Sun-Times report. “Now, like a broken watch, it’ll be right eventually. When that happens, we will deal with that.”

Mell is the second-longest serving member of city council and chairman of the rules committee. He plans to step down in the next few months, the Sun-Times reported.

Mell, the father-in-law of convicted former Gov. Rod Blagojevich, has been alderman for 38 years.

The deadline has passed for holding a special election, so it’s up to the mayor now to fill any vacancies.

Deb Mell would oversee the 33rd Ward until the next election.

CBS 2’s Susanna Song spoke with constituents.

“I just saw it on the news today,” said Jesus Salgado. “It’s time to retire. It’s fine with me.”

Oscar Fricke said: “I don’t think it’s right. We should be able to vote on it.”