Show up for those committee meetings, aldermen, or vote on nothing

Legislation should not be decided by a handful of aldermen while everybody else plays hooky.

SHARE Show up for those committee meetings, aldermen, or vote on nothing
Ald. Patrick D. Thompson (11th) speaks at a Finance Committee meeting on June 12, 2019.

Ald. Patrick D. Thompson (11th) speaks at a Finance Committee meeting on June 12, 2019.

Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson’s resolution to require a quorum at all City Council committee meetings got a firm thumbs down from his colleagues last week.

We believe the aldermen should rethink that stance.

Important legislation — and even the minor stuff — should not be decided by a handful of aldermen on a committee while everybody else plays hooky.

The City Council’s Rules Committee nixed a Thompson proposal that would have required aldermen to take their own attendance before committee meetings and adjourn if no majority is present. Current law actually requires a quorum, but aldermen skirt the regulation merely by assuming — not verifying — a majority of a committee’s members are in attendance.

Editorials bug

Editorials

It’s an old school, wink-and-a-nod practice, one of many that deserve no place in modern Chicago. In a more open and responsive City Council, everybody would show up for work.

While the quorum requirement would be a winner, the aldermen probably were right to ash-can Thompson’s other suggestion that half of all committee meetings be held after 6 p.m.

Thompson’s argument was that many constituents who have to work during the day finally would be able to attend the meetings. But it’s also true that aldermen, if they’re doing their jobs, regularly host meetings in their ward offices at night. And residents in far-flung neighborhoods such as Roseland and Hegewisch still would have to hike 10 or 20 miles to attend a night meeting at City Hall.

Alderman have always held committee meetings in the evening — occasionally even out in a neighborhood — when deliberating on big-ticket issues. We’re reminded of a particularly well attended special City Council meeting that was held in 2017 in the Clearing neighborhood on the Southwest Side to discuss foul-smelling windows that had been installed in homes near Midway Airport to reduce jet noise.

The bigger the issue — and the more distant from downtown the effected neighborhood — the more a committee meeting at night might be smart, but let’s call them one at a time.

Send letters to letters@suntimers.com.

The Latest
Eliminamos el muro de pago y hacemos que leer las noticias sea gratuita, pero seguimos contando con su apoyo.
El comité de negociación del sindicato establecerá una fecha de huelga probablemente a fines de octubre si no llegan a un acuerdo sobre su contrato con City Colleges.
In the hospital, Terrick Bland told police he was attempting to get officers’ attention with the gun and had no intention of shooting them, prosecutors said Friday.
Johnson who has missed the last two games with a quad injury, participated in practice but on a limited basis. Montgomery also was limited in practice.