Emanuel's City Council plans go before aldermen

May 18, 2011

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(Photo by Bill Healy)
Alderman Pat O'Connor is an Emanuel ally expected to chair a powerful new committee.

Chicago aldermen Wednesday are expected to pick the new City Council leaders. Their choices will go a long way in determining Mayor Rahm Emanuel's influence.

The mayor has no official say in how the council divides itself into committees, or who chairs those committees, but Emanuel helped negotiate a reorganization plan nonetheless. It cuts the total number of committees, while putting an Emanuel supporter, 40th Ward Ald. Pat O'Connor, in charge of a powerful new panel.

"It really was kind of a collaborative of his work and our work with our colleagues," O'Connor said of the plan on Monday, following inauguration ceremonies at Millennium Park. "And hopefully it will go smooth on Wednesday and we'll have the framework with which to work for the next four years."

The council is expected to vote on Emanuel's proposal on Wednesday, during the first meeting to be chaired by Emanuel. Alderman Ricardo Munoz, 22nd, said Tuesday that he is not sure if he will support it.

"What's not clear, because they haven't actually defined the jurisdictions, is precisely that," Munoz said. "What committees are going to be doing what?"

Munoz also noted that Emanuel's plan keeps Daley administration loyalists in charge of key committees. Munoz himself would not get a chairmanship under the proposal, though he denies that's why he's skeptical.