• Erin Hegarty
    OCT 26, 2021

    Aldermen derail proposals to chuck Lightfoot’s vaccine mandate, guarantee health care benefits during standoff

    Aldermen attend Monday’s City Council meeting at City Hall. 

    Aldermen seized on a relatively short City Council meeting on Monday to banish their colleagues’ vaccine mandate-related proposals to the rules committee, delaying votes on the contentious proposals. 

    A proposal to repeal Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s current vaccine mandate for city workers (O2021-4831) and a proposed resolution (R2021-1132) to guarantee health care benefits for employees and their dependents while they are on so-called “non-pay status” during disputes over COVID-19 vaccination disputes were both sent to the rules committee in an effort to throw them off course. The jousting over the new measures came after an expected procedural delay in a vote on the mayor’s proposed 2022 budget. 


    Aldermen are now set to cast a final vote on the city’s 2022 spending plan during a meeting scheduled for 10 a.m. Wednesday. 

    Ald. Silvana Tabares’ (23) proposed ordinance to nix Lightfoot’s vaccine mandate for city workers includes the following co-sponsors: Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41), Ald. Jim Gardiner (45), Ald. Marty Quinn (13), Ald. Matt O’Shea (19), Ald. Brendan Reilly (42), Ald. Felix Cardona (31), Ald. Nichols Sposato (38), Ald. Anthony Beale (9), Ald. Ed Burke (14), Ald. Raymond Lopez (15), Ald. Derrick Curtis (18), Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36), Ald. Samantha Nugent (39), Ald. Jeanette Taylor (20) and Ald. David Moore (17). 

    But Ald. James Cappleman (46) sent the proposal to the City Council’s Committee on Committees and Rules, delaying discussion or a vote on the measure until it can be reassigned to its intended committee. The committee is controlled by Ald. Michelle Harris (8), a close ally of Lightfoot’s. 

    Tabares’ introduction of the proposal came after members of the union representing rank and file police officers held a rally outside City Hall Monday morning opposing Lightfoot vaccination mandate and urging support for Tabares’ proposal.  

    Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara spoke during the council meeting’s public comment period Monday demanding that aldermen support Tabares’ ordinance. Another speaker during public comment said of the mandate: “the only thing this is about is control.” 

    “I think the message is basically, we've got to get people back to collective bargaining,” Villegas said on Monday of his support for the measure. “We’ve got to get them back to the table to discuss what the issue was.” 

    Villegas said he thinks Tabares’ proposal would force representatives from the police union and the mayor’s office back to the table “and put forward an arbitrator, and then have them live with the decision.”Additionally on Monday, Ald. Michele Smith (43) sent to the rules committee Burke’s proposal to guarantee health care benefits for employees and their dependents while they are on so-called “non-pay status” during disputes over COVID-19 vaccination disputes. 

    Burke’s proposal has support from Lopez, O’Shea, Tabares, Sposato, Beale, Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson (11), Napolitano, Gardiner, Quinn, Moore, Ald. Brian Hopkins (2) and Nugent.  

    A spokesperson for Lightfoot told The Daily Line on Monday the mayor has “no comment for now” on Burke’s proposal. 

    Separately, a proposed ordinance (O2021-4871) from Cardona regarding “City Council approval for discipline and no-pay status for city employees” was sent to the rules committee. The full text of the ordinance had not been posted on the City Clerk’s website as of Monday afternoon. 

    Lopez made an attempt to use an unusual parliamentary maneuver to “suspend the rules” to re-refer all of the measures that had been sent to the rules committee back to intended destinations, mimicking a move Reilly used earlier this month to preemptively release dozens of proposals from the rules committee. 

    Related: Scooter program approved; budget watchdog peppers critiques amid ‘overall support’ for Lightfoot’s 2022 plan 

    The motion from Lopez to suspend the rules was shot down with an initial roll call vote of 20-30. 

    Latino Caucus map proposal 

    Villegas and 14 co-sponsors introduced an ordinance detailing the City Council Latino Caucus’ proposed new ward map using data from the 2020 Census.  

    Related: Latino Caucus remap plan heats up brawl over Black representation: ‘a move of desperation’ 

    The proposed map creates 15 majority-Latino wards, an increase from the existing 13, and shrinks the city’s number of majority-Black wards from 18 to 16. Additionally, the proposed map redraws the 11th Ward to maximize Asian American voting power in Greater Chinatown. The proposal envisions 15 majority-white wards, and the 40th, 49th and 50th wards would have no racial majority. 

    Villegas told reporters after Monday’s council meeting that he expects discussions on the remap to continue, “but the reality is that we felt that it was time to put something forward that people can actually take a look at.” 

    “What you saw from that map was we still kept the African American population at a greater percentage of representation, above what they currently have as a population...and then we put the Latinos proportionate with our population,” Villegas said. “We've been following the data, we've been following the Voting Rights Act and we've been following what people have been saying in the city of Chicago — that they want to see maps that are continuous, they want to see maps that put neighborhoods together and not have communities represented by multiple aldermen.” 

    Ald. Jason Ervin (28) said he does not believe the proposed map allows for “adequate representation” for Chicago’s African American communities and “infringes upon the voting rights of the African Americans communities.” 

    Ervin remains firm on the demands that any new Chicago ward map must maintain 18 majority-African American wards, despite the city’s Black population declining by nearly 10 percent between 2010 and 2020. 

    Villegas also faced heat on Monday from the group Asian Americans Advancing Justice, whose leaders wrote in a statement that they were “disappointed” the Latino Caucus had only designed a ward to be about half-populated by Asian American residents, instead of carving out a clear Asian majority. 

    The Latino Caucus’ ward map proposal includes 15 total co-sponsors so far, and a ward map needs support of at least 41 aldermen to be approved, otherwise the decision is sent to a ballot referendum. The proposed map also has support from non-members of the Latino Caucus — Hopkins, Beale, Cappleman and Lopez. 

    Still, Ervin said he believes there is “definitely” a path to a new ward map without a referendum.  

    “I think that by sitting down with everyone and working with everyone, we can do that as we've done in past years that I've been here in council,” Ervin told reporters on Monday. 

    Beale’s proposals remain in limbo 

    Additionally on Monday, Beale made an attempt to force votes on two of his proposals that had previously been banished to the rules committee and then delayed during the previous City Council meeting.  

    One of Beale’s proposals (O2021-1227) would roll back speed camera rules enacted this year that ticket people for driving as little as 6 miles per hour over the speed limit. Lightfoot lowered the speeding threshold for tickets from 10 miles per hour over the speed limit to 6 miles per hour as part of her 2021 budget proposal.   

    Beale’s second proposal (O2021-2901) would establish the City Council’s own legal counsel and parliamentarian, a proposal the mayor has signaled she supports.  

    But Lightfoot ruled Beale “out of order” on Monday, saying he had not filed the proper Rule 41 paperwork to have his items considered during the meeting. 

    Additional proposals that were introduced on Monday include: 

    R2021-1141 — A resolution from Ervin calling for the police department to establish criteria for sworn officers assigned to civilian positions. The resolution calls on the police department and the Public Safety Administration to provide quarterly reports detailing why “civilian work” is performed by sworn police officers. 

    R2021-1147 — A resolution from Lightfoot congratulating the Chicago Federation of Labor on its 125th anniversary. 

    O2021-4875 — A proposal from Hopkins to rename the 1700 block of N. Throop St. as "N. Ada St." 

    R2021-1131 — A resolution from Reilly congratulating Christkindlmarket on its 25th anniversary and recognizing Dec. 1 as Christkindlmarket Day in the city.  


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