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Aldermen Block Mayor’s Ethics Reforms, For Now

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Chicago City Hall (Credit: CBS)

John Cody. John Cody
John Cody is a veteran reporter for Newsradio 780.
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CHICAGO (CBS) – Mayor Rahm Emanuel suggested he was not all that concerned that aldermen had balked at his proposed ethics reforms for the City Council.

WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports the Rules Committee voted 25 to 3 to table the proposed ordinance, but the mayor suggested the overall issue is not dead.

“I didn’t expect everybody to take what I said and Xerox it. On the other hand, I expect them to hue to the goal of making sure that we hold everybody in public life accountable,” he said. “So there might be changes, and there will be. We’ll look at them, but will not compromise our goal.”

Ald. Rick Munoz (22nd) said the proposal itself was fine, but the timing of the vote was not.

“We had a committee meeting scheduled for noon, and they brought down the latest draft of this ordinance at 12:15,” he said.

Munoz said the proposal isn’t finished.

“I trust that, after aldermen spend the weekend reviewing the new proposal, that there will definitely be a vote at the next City Council,” he said.

But Munoz would not predict whether the measure would be approved.

Despite the mayor dropping a proposal that would have allowed anonymous complaints to trigger an investigation, some aldermen expressed concern an investigation would be too easy to trigger over political retaliation, rather than actual wrongdoing.

According to news reports, the mayor’s proposal was repeatedly rewritten in an attempt to address the aldermen’s concerns.

The mayor’s office reportedly had proposed doubling the fine for filing a false complaint to $2,000.

The legislative inspector general – created to investigate complaints against the aldermen and their staffs – is required to receive signed and sworn complaints approved by the Board of Ethics before launching a probe.

The mayor wanted to allow investigations to be prompted by written anonymous complaints, if the Board of Ethics approved a probe, but later dropped that provision when met with resistance from the aldermen.

Ald. Richard Mell (33rd), who chairs the Rules Committee, recessed Thursday’s meeting until Monday, when the measure could be revived.