19 seeking to replace departing City Council member Scott include his sister, chief of staff
The resignation of Ald. Michael Scott Jr. took effect last week. Scott told the Sun-Times he would be equally happy if the mayor chose either his sister, Monique Scott, or his chief-of-staff, Charles Rice, to fill his 24th Ward seat.
Nineteen candidates — including the sister and chief-of-staff of now-retired Ald. Michael Scott Jr. (24th) — are vying to fill the vacancy created by Scott’s resignation and get a leg up on the next election by winning Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s second City Council appointment.
Scott’s resignation took effect last Friday. He’s now director of industry and community relations at Cinespace Studios.
He told the Sun-Times Wednesday he would be equally happy if the mayor chose either his sister, Monique Scott, or his chief-of-staff, Charles Rice.
Monique Scott, 50, followed in her father and brother’s footsteps by joining the Chicago Park District, where she’s now a supervisor at Ellis Park. Before that, she owned a woman’s clothing boutique in Lincoln Park and served as an executive at UPS.
She also coaches the North Lawndale Eagles cheerleading team.
Rice, 51, worked his way up through the 24th Ward Regular Democratic Organization and “champions saving youth lives on the front-end,” as Scott put it, by running a 28-year-old tackle football program for elementary school kids.
“I hope it’s a fair process. I hope that my serving in this position doesn’t taint the fact that my sister is a qualified, capable woman who has owned a couple of her own businesses, worked in corporate America and then came off to serve our community because that’s something that was instilled in our family,” said Michael Scott Jr., whose father and namesake was an all-purpose troubleshooter for Mayor Richard M. Daley, serving both president of the Chicago Board of Education and of the Chicago Park District board.
“She has a master’s [degree]. She’s seeded in community and customer service, which is the lion’s share of the job that has to be done in the 24th Ward. And she’ll have the opportunity to glean knowledge from the prior alderman, who is her relative.”
Lightfoot has appointed three community leaders to review the 19 resumes, interview top candidates and narrow the list to three finalists from which the mayor will choose or reject and ask for three more names.
The screening committee includes: Brenda Palms Barber, president and CEO of the North Lawndale Employment Network; Sheila McNary, president and CEO of Advanced Care Services and Marcus Betts, assistant vice-chancellor for external engagement at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
If the selection process is “fair,” Scott said he is confident his sister or Rice will make it to the list of finalists.
What makes the former alderperson believe the process may not be fair when he thinks so highly of the selection committee?
“What I don’t want to have happen is the reformer that the mayor champions — her inner reformer — to say, ‘This is the old Chicago way. This is nepotism at its best’ and not give my sister or Charles a chance,” Scott said.
“I want for them to be judged on their qualifications — not because they are associated with the past alderman or his organization.”
Scott was invited to join Lightfoot on Wednesday at a campaign event on the West Side, but he declined.
He’s only in his third day on the job at Cinespace. He’s also waiting to see whether Lightfoot follows his recommendation to appoint his sister or Rice.
The retiring alderperson was deeply disappointed when Lightfoot chose Rosa Escareno to replace fired Chicago Park District CEO Mike Kelly instead. Lightfoot had promised a nationwide search, which would have allowed Scott to pursue what he calls his “dream job.”
Asked whether he will endorse Lightfoot, he said: “We will cross that bridge when we get to it. I don’t want to taint the process in any way, shape or form,” he said.
The list of applicants also includes former Chicago Bulls star Wallace “Mickey” Johnson; Trina Mangrum, chief of staff to Ald. Jason Ervin (28th); the owner of a barber shop; the owner of a construction company, and two police officers, a pastor, a firefighter and several former City Council candidates.
The appointment will be the second time Lightfoot’s filled a City Council vacancy.
The first spot was created by the conviction and resignation of Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson (11th), grandson and nephew of Chicago’s two longest-serving mayors.
Lightfoot made history with that appointment, choosing Nicole Lee as Chicago’s first Asian American woman, and the first Chinese American, to serve on the City Council.