Emanuel talks about Burke, Brizard and reform

June 16, 2011 12:57:04 PM PDT
Rahm Emanuel defended his choice to run CPS and spoke about his plan to reform and reorganize the City of Chicago as mayor.

"I support the leadership. They are going to bring changes," Rahm Emanuel said of the City Colleges board and administrative team while at the Olive Harvey campus on the city's Far South Side.

Cheryl Hyman will remain the seven-college system's chancellor with re-emphasized directives from the mayor-to-be, including, she said, "to increase the seven percent graduation rate, to ensure that our students are graduating with credentials of economic value."

Also during the news conference, Emanuel confirmed his meeting with Senior Alderman Ed Burke, but did not yet decide if he will recommend Burke to continue as chairman of the Chicago City Council finance committee. Burke did not support Emanuel's campaign for mayor.

"I will have a plan that I'll present about re-organization and it's about reform," Emanuel said.

Veteran Alderman Pat O'Connor arranged for Emanuel and Burke to meet at O'Connor's home. O'Connor says he did not participate in the talks.

"The world isn't going to end if Mayor-elect Emanuel and Alderman Burke don't have a great relationship," Ald. Pat O'Connor said. "I think it's in everybody's interest though to have the council work as closely with the mayor-elect as they can."

Earlier Monday, Emanuel visited the Whitney Young High School to celebrate the academic decathlon team's state championship. The mayor elect's education plan is under increased media scrutiny after revelations that Emanuel's choice to lead CPS, Jean-Claude Brizard, has been the target of lawsuits and complaints in Rochester, New York. Emanuel defended his appointment and said Brizard may have "ruffled feathers" to get results.

"He's improved the scores among elementary kids and he's improved the graduation rates even while keeping troubled kids in the system," Rahm said.

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