Six years after Richard M. Daley retired from politics, the photograph of Chicago’s longest-serving mayor has finally been added to City Hall’s wall of mayors.
The Chicago Sun-Times reported April 30 that Daley’s photograph was still missing from the wall of mayors in the reception area of the mayor’s office on the fifth floor of City Hall.
The newspaper questioned why there was a photo of David Orr, who spent eight days as acting mayor after the 1987 death of Harold Washington, but not one of Richard M. Daley, who served 22 years and surpassed the longevity record set by his father, former Mayor Richard J. Daley, who served for 21 years.
At the time, Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration insisted that the failure to hang Daley’s photo had nothing to do with any tension between Emanuel and his predecessor and political mentor caused by Emanuel’s decision to chart a decidedly different course to solve the problems Daley left behind.
It was simply the fact that Emanuel was hoping to make the hanging of Daley’s photo a bigger deal than the Daley family wanted it to be.
“There’s been an effort to have a larger ceremony … We wanted to put together an event that would honor his service to the city just the same way that we named Maggie Daley park in honor of Maggie Daley’s contributions to the city and hadn’t been able to arrange that,” Emanuel’s communications director Adam Collins said then.
A top mayoral aide, who asked to remain anonymous, added, “We have the photo ready to go. It’s been ready for a long time. We reached out to the family. We just never got it together. For whatever reason, they weren’t that interested in doing it. We asked them if they wanted to come down. They never responded.”
A source close to the Daley family said the former mayor had no interest in turning the photo hanging into a mini-ceremony.
“It’s not a portrait. It’s a photo. Put it up. Nobody wants a ceremony for a photo. That’s crazy. Who would say yes to that?” the Daley family source said.
Now, Emanuel has done just that—quietly and without fanfare.
He can only hope that will put to rest speculation that the oversight was a sign of tension between the two men.
Collins has insisted that the bond between the two men runs deep and remains unbroken.
“Mayor Daley has been a mentor and a friend to Mayor Emanuel for 25 years. The mayor has been criticized for not criticizing Mayor Daley – something he has not done and has no intention of doing,” Collins said.
“He named Maggie Daley Park after the former first lady, and he has significantly increased investments in After School Matters … And we will continue to recognize Mayor Daley’s service to the people of Chicago as long as we are there.”