The City of Chicago's Law Department denied a Freedom of Information Act request for the information earlier this week claiming it would be an invasion of privacy that could cause "irreparable harm" to the applicants.
On Wednesday, ABC 7 reported on the city's decision to keep private the names of people seeking public office. Mayor Richard Daley was pressed on the issue Wednesday and told reporters he would release the names. Almost immediately, a Mayoral spokesman said Daley had misspoken.
"I have to have some confidentiality when people come in to see me and talk to me," Daley said today while explaining his decision to keep the list of Aldermanic hopefuls secret. Daley suggested some applicants may lose their current jobs if their desire for public office becomes publicly known.
"You have to do it in a confidential way because many are just coming to me and giving me their ideas," Daley said. "They're already employed and don't want their employer to know."
Mayor Daley has sole discretion in filling Aldermanic vacancies. There are currently two positions open, the 1st and 29th wards.
When asked why a person would petition him for public office if they have privacy or employment concerns Daley drew the following distinction: "They're not public officials now, they are seeking to be public officials."
The Illinois Attorney General's Public Access Counselor is reviewing the city's denial of the ABC 7 Freedom of Information Act request as required by state law.