Aldermen: Emanuel Compromising On COPA Budget, Legal Counsel
Chicago aldermen said Mayor Rahm Emanuel has been willing to compromise on his proposal for a new police accountability system.
The mayor’s administration has worked on a replacement for the beleaguered Independent Police Review Authority ahead of a City Council vote next week. According to aldermen, the mayor’s office will alter its plan for the new Civilian Office of Police Accountability and set the agency’s budget at 1 percent of the police budget.
Ald. John Arena, 45th, was one City Council member who argued for the budget as a way to keep City Hall influence out of the independent agency.
“I think it’s a major step forward that the administration heard us on this issue,” Arena said. “[We] said ‘look, we need this kind of certainly, we need the administration to give up this kind of control,’ and they listened to us, so that’s appreciated.”
Arena and some of his colleagues also want the new agency to hire its own legal counsel instead of using city lawyers, which he claimed the mayor seems open to. But a city Law Department spokesman said the Emanuel administration would want to come up with a list of at least five firms COPA could choose from.
Aldermen are scheduled to vote on the proposal next week.
Lauren Chooljian covers city politics for WBEZ. Follow her @laurenchooljian.