CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) — While Mayor Rahm Emanuel acknowledged there are still racial problems in Chicago’s Department of Water Management, he also defended the job the new commissioner is doing to eradicate them.
After addressing a youth summit Monday, Emanuel talked with reporters about complaints from department employees, who say there is still racial harassment and discrimination there.
“I can say this as a mayor when I’ve had to deal with changing a culture around City Hall. You can’t judge Randy’s success in six months taking on decades of a culture. You can judge him [on], did he make a clear line where people know now there’s somebody with a different attitude and a different perspective?”
Barrett Murphy, the former water commissioner, resigned in May, amid reports the department was the subject of an Inspector General probe. Commissioner Randy Conner, who is African American, is his replacement.
Black employees told a city council committee last week that there are still many supervisors who treat them with hostility, and pass them over for promotions.
To that, Emanuel says Conner is setting down rules and requiring training to address those points. He says they are not going to tolerate bias in any form. Still, Emanuel said people cannot expect Connor to change the culture of the Water Department in just six months.
“You cannot judge him on culture because the culture of that department has been around for decades. But as it relates to the rules, he’s been very clear,” the mayor said.