Sister of departing City Council member approved to fill his 24th Ward seat: ‘If you’re anything like your brother, you’re wonderful’

The Rules Committee unanimously approved Monique Scott to replace Michael Scott without a word of debate — not even a question about the new chapter her selection writes in Chicago’s book of political nepotism.

SHARE Sister of departing City Council member approved to fill his 24th Ward seat: ‘If you’re anything like your brother, you’re wonderful’
Michael Scott Jr. and his sister, Monique Scott

Michael Scott Jr. and his sister, Monique Scott. She is Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s choice to replace her brother’s 24th Ward seat on the Chicago City Council. The council’s Rules Committee endorsed her appointment on Tuesday.

Provided

When now-retired Ald. Michael Scott Jr. (24th) attended his final City Council meeting, it was almost like Tom Sawyer attending his own funeral.

Scott’s colleagues tripped over each other to sing his praises. That’s how likable he is and how popular he became during seven years in a Council sometimes better known for its jealousies and back-stabbing.

On Tuesday, Scott’s popularity rubbed off on his older sister and appointed replacement, Monique Scott.

The Rules Committee unanimously approved Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s appointment of Monique Scott without a word of debate — or a single question about the new chapter the appointment writes in the book of Chicago political nepotism.

“There are no questions or comments? OK, wonderful,” said Rules Committee Chair Michelle Harris (8th), Lightfoot’s City Council floor leader.

“Can I get a motion to recommend approval of this appointment of Monique L. Scott as the 24th Ward alderman and associated resolution updating our committee assignments by the affirmative vote of all members present?”

Several voices promptly obliged.

“So moved by everybody on here,” Harris said.

“We all move,” said indicted Ald. Carrie Austin (34th) whose appointment to replace her late husband, Lemuel Austin, was also part of the City Council’s friends-and-family plan.

Harris then welcomed Monique Scott and moved to adjourn as Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th) extended her congratulations to Lightfoot’s second aldermanic appointee.

“If you’re anything like your brother, you’re wonderful,” Ald. James Cappleman (46th) told Monique Scott, 50.

“I’m better,” she replied. At Wednesday’s City Council meeting, she will be sworn in, take her seat and cast her first votes.

“Spoken like a true sister,” Cappleman quipped.

Monique Scott followed in her father’s and brother’s footsteps by joining the Chicago Park District. She’s now a supervisor at Ellis Park.

Before that, she owned a woman’s clothing boutique in Lincoln Park, served as a UPS executive and spent 14 years as a health consultant for North Lawndale Christian Health Center.

She also coaches the North Lawndale Eagles cheerleading team.

Michael Scott Jr. stepped down to become director of industry and community relations at Cinespace Studios.

He withheld his endorsement of Lightfoot’s re-election bid, trying to pressure the mayor to appoint his sister. Now that Lightfoot has obliged, Scott said he plans to endorse the mayor’s uphill bid for a second term.

As for the age-old nepotism charge, Michael Scott Jr. has argued his older sister was head-and-shoulders above the other two finalists: Trina Mangrum, chief of staff to Ald. Jason Ervin (28th), and former Chicago Bulls player Wallace “Mickey” Johnson.

“If she was Monique Steward, which was her ex-husband’s last name, folks wouldn’t even question her abilities, her resume, her time served in the community and her plan for what she wants to do in the ward,” Michael Scott Jr. told the Sun-Times on Monday.

“It would be equally unfair for her not to get a proper shot serving the community” because of her last name.

Prior to the confirmation vote, Lightfoot shrugged off the nepotism charge as “an easy, frankly lazy, throwaway.”

“It’s not the fact that she is ... the alderman’s sister. It’s that she was born and raised in the ward, absolutely knows the crucial issues that are important for that ward and is committed to making sure we move those forward,” the mayor told reporters.

“Look at who she is. Look at what she’s been able to do with her life. Look at how committed she is to the 24th Ward and residents of North Lawndale and then make your assessment.”

Having said that, Lightfoot acknowledged it “does make a difference” that Michael Scott Jr. has told the Sun-Times that he “wouldn’t allow” his sister to “to miss a beat” — even if he has to “do double-duty.”

That sibling help could make a big difference when it comes to maintaining the momentum in a ward decimated by the riots that followed the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., but has been a bevy of recent development activity.

Michael Scott Sr., the father of Monique and Michael Jr., was an all-purpose trouble-shooter for former Mayor Richard M. Daley who served as president of boards overseeing the Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Park District.

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