Rahm Emanuel: Sandi Jackson won’t dictate her replacement
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter firstname.lastname@example.org January 17, 2013 5:52PM
Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th) | Richard A. Chapman~Sun-Times
Updated: February 19, 2013 3:16PM
Retired Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th) is free to recommend successors but she will not dictate her City Council replacement, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Thursday.
“She can obviously submit names. We have something online. She has a computer with an Internet connection,” the mayor said, noting that he’s accepting online applications.
Asked whether he would welcome Jackson’s recommendations, Emanuel said, “If she wants to. Sure. I mean — everybody can. I put it online. You can submit names online. The board will then meet, talk, review” the applicants before recommending three finalists.
But the mayor said, “There are conditions. You’ve got to live in the ward. You’ve got to have been there for at least a year. . . . Those are kind of the primary [conditions]. But, then, what has been your community involvement? What warrants you being an alderman?”
Former Mayor Richard M. Daley filled a record number of aldermanic vacancies by appointment — including the wives, sons and daughters of retiring or deceased aldermen — before shifting to a process of accepting online applications towards the end of his 22-year reign.
Asked Thursday why he insisted on inviting all comers, Emanuel said, “If I just picked somebody, it’s the mayor just deciding you’re gonna have this loyal person. . . . Somebody would say there is not community involvement. . . . The community should have an involvement, given that you don’t really have an election. There’s really no perfect plan. I put forward something I think will stand the test of time.”
Jackson is the wife of disgraced former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., who resigned in late November amid a federal investigation of his campaign finances that, for the last year, has included questions about Sandi Jackson’s finances.
Last week, Sandi Jackson resigned the City Council seat she has held since 2007, saying she could not balance her demanding role as a Chicago alderman with being the wife of a former congressman under federal investigation who is also suffering from bipolar disorder.
Sun-Times columnist Mary Mitchell reported earlier this week that Sandi Jackson had a farewell meeting with her staff via telephone and all but declared her chief-of-staff Keiana Barrett as her successor.
“From an insider’s point of view, Mayor Rahm may say he wants to have interviews; the people he will interview will be the people I am suggesting,” Jackson said.
“They are interviewing people in the community but they do that to calm people down. People want to have their input. But for the most part, they turn that matter over to the alderman.”
Sun-Times columnist Michael Sneed has reported that Barrett was under consideration to replace Jackson until it was discovered that she doesn’t live in the ward.
But Jackson told supporters that Barrett would be appointed after the residency issue is resolved.
“We are going to be able to move forward according to state law,” Jackson said.
“She understands how that aldermanic office works. She understands how the campaigning apparatus works ... She already has an existing relationship with the mayor and the mayor’s staff,” Jackson told the group.
Jackson also noted that all of the furnishings for her ward office at 71st and Exchange were bought with campaign dollars.
“That means the city does not own any of the furniture that you are currently sitting on, any of the furniture that is in the campaign office, any of the furniture that is in the aldermanic office. I bought every item personally, and if the mayor upholds my wishes, everything in that office will stay the same. Keiana will inherit everything,” Jackson said.