Aldermanic Ethics Reform: 
 Moving Ahead or Stymied?
Dear Neighbors,

Many of you responded to my request for feedback after the Mayor's City Council speech about greater transparency concerning police misconduct. Thank you for your comments.  Among many fine observations were those who wrote that we must demand ethical conduct from all our public officials. 

I have been fighting for city council reform throughout my career as alderman, and helped create an independent budget office for city council. But obtaining ethics oversight of aldermen has been a difficult task. As the Chicago Tribune noted, since the term of a powerless Legislative Inspector General ended, there is effectively no oversight of Council. I re-introduced an ordinance in May 2015 to put aldermen under the jurisdiction of the highly-respected city Inspector General Joe Ferguson. Monday, there was finally a hearing on the ordinance.

While many of my colleagues and I support this ordinance, a last-minute change to the agenda of the meeting  delayed a vote. 

As I stated at the hearing, 
"I believe we need to move on this today because today there is a need for oversight of city council. Because today we face a critical need for smarter, more efficient government. And, above all, today we must do all we can to address the crisis of confidence that exists in our city." 

We must assure the citizens of Chicago that we are part of the solution and not part of the problem in our city."

You can read my full remarks  here .   The   Sun-Times   covered the hearing as well.
The fight is not over.  I and several other aldermen filed a Notice (called a Rule 41) to compel a vote on the ordinance at the next meeting of City Council on January 13, 2016.

I will keep you informed as the situation develops.

Michele Signature

Michele Smith
Alderman, 43rd Ward