Rahm Emanuel: Can he handle Chicago's 'profound' financial crisis?
Rahm Emanuel is sworn into office as Mayor of Chicago. His city's most pressing crisis: a half-billion dollar budget deficit.
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Emanuel hinted that he will face difficulties with the unions representing city workers, but stressed that his issues with unions should be perceived as separate from the collective bargaining battles taking place in neighboring states.Skip to next paragraph
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“I reject how leaders in Wisconsin and Ohio are exploiting their fiscal crisis to achieve a political goal. That course is not the right course for Chicago’s future,” he said. “However … we will do no favors to our city employees or our taxpayers if we let outdated rules and outmoded practices make important government services too costly to deliver.”
Msall says the city will “have to reduce payroll to effectively reduce or eliminate” the deficit. “Certainly, the new mayor is going to need the cooperation of the entire workforce, including those represented by organized labor,” he says.
Emanuel’s inaugural bash
The inauguration, at the Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, capped a weekend of activities that included concerts, family sporting events, and comedy and dance performances on the city’s front lawn, along the Lake Michigan lakefront.
Monday’s main event was attended by a host of city, state, county and federal lawmakers, past and present. The crowd of dignitaries attested to both Mr. Emanuel’s pedigree at all levels of government and the stature he holds in his party.
Besides former Chicago mayors Daley and Jane Byrne, seated guests included Vice President Joe Biden, US Sens. Mark Kirk (R) and Dick Durbin (D), Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn (D), White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, and three members of the Obama cabinet: Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, and Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner.
By Monday afternoon, Emanuel completed his first official act as mayor, signing three executive orders dealing with transparency and ethics. New reforms include prohibiting former city administration officials from lobbying city hall for at least two years after they leave their post and banning lobbyists from making political contributions to the mayor.
Emanuel won his office with 55 percent of the vote in February, following a highly contested race including a legal battle over his residency status that ended up before the Illinois Supreme Court.