Chicago City Council members fight over leadership roles at first meeting

Mayor Brandon Johnson presided over his first Chicago City Council meeting Wednesday.

The first big floor debate involved who will get the key power positions in the new City Council. 

Some of the alderpersons were not happy about the way things have been handled with the negotiations over those plum positions.

"I have to represent my residents. And when those residents are disrespected, I'm going to stand up and say all the time, ‘This is not my seat, this is their seat.’ Every time, they have to have a voice in it," 17th Ward Ald. David Moore said.

A number of council members claim they were not consulted when it came to committee organization. 

"When I see this, three minutes into our meeting, when everyone else has been talking about what committees, what chairmans, what vice chairmans and no one bothers to include my ward in the discussion even to tell me to get bent, we have a problem," 15th Ward Ald. Raymond Lopez said. 


"I think it's very fair for our colleagues to be able to speak to it. I have my own critiques, I know many of our members do. But we have to get work done. It will remain imperfect. That is part of what our democracy and debate process is here. I think it will be up to the public to judge us over the next four years," Alderman of the 40th Andre Vasquez said. 

Vasquez added that voters will judge how well the new Council Committee lineup works for the next four years.

Ald. Pat Dowell of the 3rd Ward will chair the Finance Committee, whose powers may be strengthened. The West Side's Jason Ervin of the 28th Ward will chair the Key Budge Committee.

In the end, Johnson's proposal passed by a vote of 41-9.

"For those who wish to have their voices heard, that will continue to happen under my administration," said Johnson.

The plan will cost Chicago taxpayers as new committees will be formed.

Tougher tests lie ahead for the City Council, not least future votes on the $800 million in tax and fee increases the new mayor said during his campaign that he plans to propose.