May 20, 2019

Mayor Lightfoot Signs First Executive Order to Limit Aldermanic Prerogative

In Her First Official Act as Mayor, Lightfoot Instructs Departments to Begin Process of Ending Aldermanic Prerogative as Part of Broader Ethics Reform

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In her first hours after being sworn in as the 56th Mayor of the City of Chicago, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot signed her first Executive Order instructing departments to end the practice of aldermanic prerogative in department processes where it is controlled by the Mayor and city departments. The Mayor signed the order in her City Hall office surrounded by aldermen, community leaders, and members of her Good Governance Transition Committee.

“This is a historic day for the city. In my campaign for mayor, I pledged to bring an end to aldermanic prerogative and ensure our government delivers equitable services to all of Chicago’s communities, regardless of their zip code,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Today, I have instructed City departments to begin to end the process of aldermanic prerogative as the first step in a comprehensive ethics reform package to reform the way government works in Chicago.”

The Executive Order streamlines administrative decisions made throughout City departments by eliminating the aldermanic veto while preserving aldermanic voice in departmental decisions. The process by which residents and businesses seek to obtain licensing, permitting and other areas affected by the Executive Order will not change, and Aldermen will still retain input in the delivery of key city services.

“I am honored to stand with Mayor Lightfoot as her administration works to bring a fresh perspective to city government,” said Alderman Michele Smith, 43rd Ward. “While Aldermanic input is critical in representing the interests of communities, we are working to prevent politics from influencing departmental decisions. By signing this executive order, Mayor Lightfoot will ensure that all residents receive the same level of quality service from their government.”

The Mayor’s Office will work closely with the departments and the City Council to establish fair, objective criteria guiding all department decisions. By streamlining administrative practices, the Executive Order will make it easier to open new businesses and grow the economy, particularly in the City’s south and west sides.

“In neighborhoods across our city, Aldermen are committed to ensuring that our residents receive access to high quality services. The Executive Order will streamline service delivery, so that every neighborhood receives the same high quality services as the next,” said Alderman Gilbert Villegas.  “Working together with the Mayor’s Office, we will continue to ensure that all levels of government are held accountable to the needs of all of our residents, and that Aldermen continue to play a central role in developing policies that help grow all of our communities.”

The Executive Order was crafted in consultation with former and current aldermen, city departments, legal, and community stakeholders to ensure the Executive Order would function without disrupting City services. The Mayor’s Office will work with all affected departments to ensure a smooth transition and continuity for residents and businesses.

The Executive Order is the first piece in a comprehensive package to reform Chicago government and delivers on Mayor Lightfoot’s commitment to put in place new policies to strengthen ethics, accountability and transparency throughout City government.  In the coming months, the new administration will seek to work with the City Council to bring forward new legislation that increases transparency in City zoning processes and to strengthen ethics beyond aldermanic prerogative.

Sixty-day report on implementation of Executive Order No. 2019-2 regarding Aldermanic prerogative