Chicago aldermen question Lightfoot's $17 billion budget proposal
CHICAGO - Members of the Chicago City Council began questioning top aides to Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Friday about her proposal to spend nearly $17 billion next year.
One alderman wants to know why Lightfoot has created a series of highly-paid new jobs in the mayor's office.
South Side Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th Ward) suggested some of these posts seem to have exactly the same policy-making portfolio as department heads also appointed by Lightfoot.
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"We've got the Office of Community Engagement, the Office of Infrastructure and Services, the Office of Education and Human Services, the Office of Equity and Racial Justice, the Office of Neighborhood and Economic Development, the Office of Public Safety, the Office of Policy, the Office of Intergovernmental Affairs. And we also have city departments that cover these. So, my question is, why is there a need for this," Hairston asked.
"What I would say is it's not redundant," replied Susie Park, Chicago Budget Director.
Hairston was unconvinced. There are hundreds of empty positions in the police department alone and she noted many more vacant job posts across city government.
"If we're cutting in every other area, we need to cut here too," Hairston said.
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The council's budget hearings are scheduled to continue for the next two weeks.