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Alderman Mell denies retirement, succession plans

The reports of his political demise are being greatly exaggerated.

So says 33rd Ward Ald. Dick Mell, who is the Chicago City Council’s second longest-serving member, with 38 years under his belt.

Mell, 74, was responding to a Chicago Sun-times report, which cited unnamed sources who said Mell had plans to retire in the next few months, and planned to have his daughter, Democratic State Rep. Deb Mell, take his City Council seat.

But the alderman denied any imminent plans during an interview Friday with ABC 7 TV in Chicago.

“I've talked about this for the last five years,” Mell said. “When winter comes, I think about being down in Florida for a couple of months.”

Neither Ald. Mell or State Rep. Mell immediately returned phone calls to WBEZ. A worker at Mell’s ward office said the aldermen was frustrated by the false reports.

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Friday reports of Mell’s retirement were “not true.”

“Alderman Mell’s been retiring for five years,” Emanuel said. “Now, like a broken watch, it will be right eventually.”

Nonetheless, the speculation seems to continue.

The Sun-Times also reported Friday that Aaron Goldstein, a lawyer for ex-Gov. Rod Blagojevich, would consider a run at Deb Mell’s Illinois House seat.

Rumors of the alderman’s retirement have been rampant for the last few years. He heads up the City Council’s Rules Committee, and last year, he oversaw the contentious process of redrawing the city’s ward maps. 

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