Lightfoot vows ‘open and transparent process’ for replacing ex-Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson in 11th Ward
Thompson resigned last week after being found guilty by a U.S. District Court jury of lying to regulators and filing false income tax returns.
A four-person panel, including one member of the Chicago City Council, will screen applicants seeking to become the next council member representing the 11th Ward, replacing the convicted Patrick Daley Thompson.
That search committee will review applications, interview candidates, and recommend a final slate of options to Mayor Lori Lightfoot, who makes the final selection.
Ald. Michelle Harris (8th) will serve as ex-officio chairwoman. The other members are Salvador Cicero, of The Cicero Law Group; Grace Chan McKibben, executive director of the Coalition For A Better Chinese Community; and Jamie Trecker, a producer and co-host for Lumpen Radio (WLPN-LP, 105.5 FM).
“Some of these folks are very well-known. They do a lot of great work in that community. And I think the people we selected will do a fine job,” Lightfoot said.
“I like the idea of having people that are residents of the local ward be the first, kind of, line of screening potential candidates. We encourage anyone who meets the criteria to apply and we will take their applications seriously.”
Lightfoot has said she hopes the replacement can be sworn in and seated in March. They will remain in office until council elections next year.
Until last week, the Bridgeport neighborhood’s 11th Ward had been represented by Thompson, nephew of former Mayor Richard M. Daley and grandson of Daley’s father, the late Mayor Richard J. Daley. But Thompson had to resign after he was convicted in U.S. District Court of lying to regulators and filing false income tax returns.
The council is in the process of redrawing its ward boundaries, though no final map has been approved. In both leading contenders — a map backed by the Council’s Black Caucus, the other backed by the Latino Caucus — the 11th Ward becomes majority Asian American.
As a result, Lightfoot is widely expected to choose an Asian American replacement, though on Wednesday the mayor refused to commit to that, saying she has no idea who has even applied for the job.
“I’m open. I understand and I get that there is a lot of interest in picking someone who is Asian. I’m gonna pick who I believe is gonna serve that community the best. … There’s a number of things that are happening in that ward, particularly around economic development. So I want to choose someone who is ready to roll up their sleeves and get to work,” Lightfoot told reporters after Wednesday’s city council meeting.
“I want to choose the best person who presents themselves. Somebody who has a great knowledge and passion for that community, which is very diverse. I want to make sure that we have someone who understands what it takes to be an alderman, which is a very hard job.”
Under state law, there is a 60-day time limit to fill Thompson’s seat. Anyone interested can send their applications in via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to City Hall in care of the 11th Ward Vacancy Committee.
Applications are due by March 11, 2022. After that, the names and resumes of everyone who applied will be made public, and the committee’s review process will begin.
Details on the process can be found online at www.chicago.gov/ward11application.