Shaking hands and posing for photos: Daley hosts open house Monday

May 9, 2011

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(WBEZ/Sam Hudzik)
Daley poses with a crystal bowl that aldermen gave him at his final city council meeting.

Chicagoans looking to say farewell to Mayor Richard Daley can do so in person Monday afternoon at city hall. For three hours, the mayor will host an open house.

It's one week before he retires from what he calls "the greatest job in America."

"In my 22 years, every minute I continually think about the city," Daley told the city council last week. "I'm wondering what I'm going to do after May 16th, in regards to not thinking about this city. If doesn't matter what I do, I've always said you have to do this, you have to do that. And that's how I feel about this city."

Daley's tenure as mayor - the longest in Chicago history - has included bold takeovers of the school system and public housing, along with more cosmetic efforts, like downtown beautification and the building of Millennium Park.

Since his first mayoral victory in 1989, no challengers have come close to defeating him. In recent years though, Daley's been dogged by hiring scandals, a botched deal to lease the city's parking meters, and mounting budget deficits.

On Monday from 1 to 4 p.m. in his office at city hall, the mayor says goodbye and poses for photos with anyone willing to show up and wait in line.

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