One Step Closer to Reform
Dear Neighbors,

I am writing to you as we approach an historic vote in City Council. At a time when Chicagoans crave leadership, it appears Aldermen are poised to respond by finally placing themselves under real public scrutiny. 

Yet, until a vote of the full City Council is taken, Aldermen will have yet to secure their place in  history as embracing change to restore much needed public trust. 

Yesterday, a City Council Committee  voted  to  place City Council under the oversight of the City Inspector General (IG), moving us one step  closer  to making City Council subject to the same ethical oversight as any other City employee.  If the full Council is allowed to vote on this measure at Wednesday's City Council meeting, I believe it will pass. 

I have been fighting for the passage of this ordinance since you first elected me as your Alderman. The importance of this vote cannot be overstated. By taking a public stand to embrace change, Aldermen can help Chicago reset its compass to face our immense current challenges now and in the future.   

Andy Shaw,  President and CEO of the Better Government Association (BGA) said it best "This could be one of the biggest days in Chicago City Council history." 

While the ordinance has had strong backing from the Chicago Sun-Times, the Chicago Tribune  and other groups who recognize the critical need of such oversight, the proposal languished in the Workforce Development Committee for years until I and my colleague Ameya Pawar (47) pressed the issue with  a "Rule 41" that forced the legislation out of committee and made it eligible for a vote. Ultimately, over  30 Aldermen joined our efforts culminating in a unanimous vote in committee to bring it to the floor of City Council Wednesday. 

Although this bill to expand the powers of the IG has the  support  of a  broad majority of Council members, until that vote is taken, it is not wise to assume that City Council has fully embraced oversight rather than continue decades of avoidance.  Some of my fellow aldermen and I discussed this on WTTW last night.

The City Council holds the keys to reforming the most local level of government - the Alderman's Office.  I sincerely urge my colleagues to willingly submit to scrutiny to ensure a more transparent legislature.  As always I welcome your thoughts and will keep you updated on developments.  

(Antonio Perez / Chicago Tribune 2015)

Michele Signature

Michele Smith
Alderman, 43rd Ward