CHICAGO (WBBM/CBS) — Ald. Patrick O’Connor (40th), who is close to new Mayor Rahm Emanuel, will be a key player as the City Council reorganization moves forward.

As WBBM Newsradio 780 Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports, there are now 16 City Council committees instead of 19, but one of the remaining ones is new – Workforce Development and Audit.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780 Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports

Mayor Emanuel says he wanted a committee that deals specifically with collective bargaining and oversight. Chairing the committee is O’Connor, who was Mayor Daley’s floor leader, and is expected to serve the same role under Emanuel.

Some see O’Connor rising in contrast with Ald. Edward Burke (14th), the powerful chairman of the Finance Committee, who opposed Emanuel’s election. But O’Connor says otherwise.

“It’s not designed to take anything away from anybody else. It’s just to put all the things that deal with jobs and workforce into one place – it’s just maybe to show that it’s a priority and a focus for this mayor,” O’Connor said.

At Emanuel’s first City Council meeting Wednesday, Burke presented the mayor with a new gavel to call council meetings to order.

A few minutes later, Emanuel left the podium, and headed straight for Burke, as months of speculation about whether they’d be friends or foes ended with an embrace.

O’Connor was first elected to the City Council in 1983 at the age of 28, on the same day Harold Washington was elected mayor. O’Connor’s 40th Ward includes the North Side neighborhoods of Budlong Woods, Arcadia Terrace and Bowmanville, the southern part of Rogers Park, and Rosehill Cemetery.