Who would take over if Rahm resigns?

CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) - There are calls for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to step down. And one of the loudest calls is coming from an editorial in the New York Times.

Bernard Harcourt, a former law professor at the University of Chicago, slammed Emanuel and Alvarez for “trying to cover up evidence of the shooting until after an election.”

But not even those calling for his resignation expect Rahm Emanuel to step down as mayor. There's no provision for impeaching a mayor. There's no recall election.

But what would happen if there were a vacancy?  FOX 32 News talked to the guy who took over the last time there was a vacancy in Chicago, 28 years ago.

It may have been the stormiest meeting ever in the long, uproarious history of the Chicago City Council.  Presiding was then Alderman and Vice-Mayor David Orr. 

The sudden death of Harold Washington had made Orr the city's chief executive for seven days, until the Council voted fill the vacancy. 

Now, the elected clerk of Cook County, Orr, opposed Rahm Emanuel's re-election this year. He'd be happy to see him go. But he isn't holding his breath.

“I don't think he's going to resign unless there are things in his heart that I don't know. It’s not his style to quit. He's a fighter,” Orr said.

But, if Emanuel did quit, the current vice-mayor, downtown's Ald. Brendan Reilly, would take over until the City Council picked a replacement.

Reilly did respond to repeated requests for comment. It would take at least 26 of the Council's 50 members to name an interim mayor. 

Orr thinks it would be a battle royale as stormy as Dec. 1 and 2 of 1987.

“The political battle would be, frankly, do the powerful aldermen want Brendan Reilly to stay in the spot? Or do they want to choose one of themselves to be mayor?” Orr told FOX 32 News.

If the departing mayor had more than 28 months left in his term, voters would have their say in a special election.

At City Hall, close aides to the mayor insist he is ignoring calls for his resignation and is focused instead, they say, on solving the problems that prompted those calls – specifically, rebuilding trust between citizens and their police department.
 

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