State of the City: Blithe Comments from Rahm

Let’s see what Rahm Emmanuel has to say about his nascent mayorlty:

If Rahm Emanuel had known being mayor of Chicago was this much fun, he likes to joke that he would have “primaried” his political mentor four years ago.

“As I told Rich Daley, ‘You didn’t tell me the truth. You said it was gonna be a good job. It’s not a good job. It’s a great job.’ I tease him about that all the time,” Emanuel told the Chicago Sun-Times in an interview on his first 100 days in office.

“I’m having a blast. . . . [Wife] Amy and the kids [say], ‘Dad seems happy.’ If you want to see change and see what you’re doing impact people, this is one of the most dynamic and exciting opportunities of a lifetime. . . . It sure beats walking around with the world on your shoulders” as White House chief of staff.

Awwwww, how endearing.

Let’s look at what he’s been up to!

First, he’s hired some consultants to cut city contracts to the bone:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Thursday hired a private consulting firm to consolidate and overhaul city contracts and wring at least $25 million in savings out of $500 million in purchases.

The savings generated by Accenture are expected to come from renegotiating some contracts, rebidding others and combining purchases by individual city departments to get a cheaper bulk price.

The contract calls for the company to review $500 million in contracts and get 10 percent of the first $70 million in savings, with a smaller percentage after that. But Accenture will not get paid at all until Chicago taxpayers get their check.

Actually, that sounds good to me.

But there are harder cuts as well:

Of all the sad statistics related to the financial crisis at Chicago Public Schools, one of the most alarming is simply this: The school district is spending millions more every year to educate fewer children.

Into this mess steps Jean-Claude Brizard and a new leadership team pledging to rebuild the financial footing and repair the miserable academic performance of a school district that, by most measures, is struggling.

Brizard said Thursday that the previous leadership had only recently awakened to the bloated bureaucracy at CPS — trimming central office staff by 327 since 2009 — but that cuts should have been deeper.

“If we don’t make these courageous decisions, we’re going to be right back where we were — where past CEOs, past administrations, have faced problems and didn’t do enough to actually correct it,” Brizard said in a meeting with the Tribune’s editorial board. “The very financial health of the system hinges on that.”

Some of the decisions envisioned include:

•Closing schools, including charters, that aren’t working or are underenrolled.

•Restructuring contracts with teachers, janitors, bus drivers and other pacts that have become burdensome.

•Consolidating jobs and departments within the central office.

•Laying off staff.

•Raising taxes when necessary.

•Creating a school system where the best-performing, not the longest-serving, principals and teachers earn the most money.

Previous administrations have made similar promises, only to see the problems get worse. But Brizard says this mandate for change comes from Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

Still, cutting fat is good.

But hey – what’s this extra thing he wants to pay for?

Is Rahm nuts?

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today said the city has an obligation to pay for former Mayor Richard Daley’s legal defense if he is sued for alleged police brutality conspiracies that happened under former Chicago police Cmdr. Jon Burge.

The city will not, however, run up unnecessary legal bills to defend Daley or Burge, Emanuel said.

“We’re not going to be reckless and let the meter run legally,” Emanuel said.

Really? Why don’t we stop this one before it even starts then.

Who was Daley working for when all of this allegedly occurred? Does Rahm even remember Daley’s title at the time?

•Cook County State’s Attorney

Chicago wasn’t employing him at the time, nor signing his checks. So what the hell is Rahm doing promising to pay for Daley’s alleged actions?

To be sure, if it was when Daley was Cook County’s State Attorney he has absolute immunity, and my understanding is that the civil complaint is based on when Daley was mayor.

But frankly, I don’t see that with all this scrounging for spare change in Chicago’s couches, that Rahm can make a great case that the less-than-pristine Daley should be defended with the tax dollars of Chicago.

But I guess he’s hoping for the same courtesy when he’s ex-mayor.

Thanks to reader TRB in pointing me to the Second City Cop blog — other posts of interest:

Rahm finds another $20 million

2nd City Cop on the Accenture deal

About Meep

Meep is a member of the Irish Catholic mafia, having a suspiciously high number of green-eyed, red-haired friends. While she doesn’t have red hair herself [except when she goes into the sun (rare for any vampire)], she does have green eyes. She’s a raving Papist and is a life actuary on the side [i.e., she counts dead people]. An amateur pain-in-the-ass [willing to go pro!], she likes covering retirement, mortality, math, and education issues.
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One Response to State of the City: Blithe Comments from Rahm

  1. Cowboy says:

    Jay Tea:

    I hadn’t thought of that, but I stop by here every day to see if new content has been added. I thought maybe Dan had shut down this site to concentrate on the Conservatory . . .

    As good as the Conservatory is, I would miss POWIP.

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