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Lightfoot solicits ideas, resumes from general public

Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot

Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot is asking for help from everyday Chicagoans. | Sun-Times file photo

It’s not easy building a city administration out of whole cloth in less than five weeks.

That’s apparently part of the reason why Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot is asking for help from everyday Chicagoans.

“We’re building a Chicago that celebrates our differences, inspires us all to be better, and embraces new ideas. And that means we want to hear from you — tell us your ideas on how we can build a Chicago for all,” Lightfoot tweeted Wednesday.

The tweet directs interested Chicagoans to her website, https://bettertogetherchicago.com/.

Once there, people are asked for their email address and to identify where they live from a list of 77 Chicago neighborhoods.

If they want to submit an idea, they are asked to choose from among a dozen topics such as public safety and accountability; transportation and infrastructure; arts and culture; and good government.

Those interested in joining the Lightfoot administration are invited to submit a resume. They are also reassured that the new mayor who sold herself to voters as a change agent in a change election does not intend to abide by the slogan that was the infamous title of Milt Rakove’s book: “We Don’t Want Nobody Nobody Sent: An Oral History of the Daley Years.”

The title was drawn from a remark made to former Congressman and federal judge Abner Mikva, who tried to volunteer to help the Democrats in 1948 and was sent packing by a ward heeler who was interested, only in the politically connected.

“We’re looking to bring the brightest minds and deepest experience into the new administration — and we’re not a part of any machine. . . . The incoming Lightfoot Administration is committed to honest government and will comply with the City of Chicago Hiring Plan,” the Better Together Chicago website states.

“Applications submitted through this website may be considered for positions with the Transition Committee and for ‘exempt positions’ with the City that are designated under that plan. Other employment opportunities with the city can be found on the Department of Human Resource’s website. Information submitted through this website will be submitted to the Transition Committee and may be shared with City offices.”

It’s not the first time an incoming Chicago mayor has solicited ideas from the public.

After being forced into Chicago’s first-ever mayoral runoff and fighting for his political life, Mayor Rahm Emanuel was determined to listen more, talk less and build stronger connections to Chicago neighborhoods.

Emanuel’s second-term transition committee was chaired by Sarah Pang, an Emanuel confidante who once served as former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s deputy chief of staff and chief liaison to public safety. Pang is a key player in Lightfoot’s transition team.

Lightfoot is scheduled to be sworn in on May 20 along with the new and more progressive City Council.

After an action-packed agenda last week that included negotiations on Lincoln Yards and The 78 and a two-day trip to Springfield, the mayor-elect has kept a low profile this week.

On Friday, she met with Council supporters Anthony Beale (9th) and Matt O’Shea (19th).

Over the weekend, there were meetings with three more Council supporters who are expected to hold key leadership posts in the re-organized Council: Aldermen Scott Waguespack (32nd), Gilbert Villegas (36th) and Tom Tunney (44th).

Waguespack and Tunney are top candidates to lead the City Council’s Finance Committee.

Ultimately, Lightfoot is planning to hold one-on-one meetings with all 50 aldermen to build support for her ethics reforms and for a first budget that is certain to include painful budget cuts and tax increases.

But first, she’s planning to get away for the Easter weekend with her wife and daughter. They’re scheduled to leave Thursday.

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