After firing the city Department of Water Management Commissioner for not disciplining an employee who sent racist emails, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Saturday morning those messages “do not express the values of the city.”
Emanuel fired Water Management Commissioner Barrett Murphy on Friday after he failed to take action against a subordinate who sent the emails.
Emanuel, who was described as livid about the messages, told WBBM-AM 780 radio, “There’s zero tolerance for a set of values that are contradictory to who we are and what we aspire to be.”
Murphy was fired and replaced by First Deputy Transportation Commissioner Randy Conner.
“We were made aware of an IG [Inspector General’s] investigation into the culture at the water department,” the mayor’s communications director Adam Collins wrote in an email.
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“The mayor acted quickly and decisively, asking for the commissioner’s resignation and appointing a new commissioner to lead the department forward and change the department’s culture.”
Sources told the Chicago Sun-Times that, though Murphy was among those receiving the emails, he still did not discipline the employee.
The mid-level manager accused of writing those racist emails also resigned Friday.
Murphy’s firing was a stunner because of his close ties to the mayor.
Former Mayor Richard M. Daley hired Murphy in 1999 as Chicago was preparing for the potential Y2K terrorism threat that never materialized. Murphy’s wife, Lynn Lockwood, is an Emanuel friend who once chaired a political fund-raising committee for the mayor.
Lockwood had a one-year, $160,000 consulting contract with the tourism agency known as Choose Chicago. She was an aide to former First Lady Maggie Daley and worked for the city cultural affairs department. Emanuel appointed her to the Chicago Public Library board in March 2012.