Help Wanted: City of Chicago Aldermen

February 18, 2010 2:56:37 PM PST
Mayor Richard Daley has posted an online want ad to fill two aldermanic positions in the City of Chicago.

The online ad is a unique approach to an appointment for Daley, who normally gets the predecessor's blessing. Northsider Patrick Burns says he could be up for the challenge.

"Why not? I'm working at Potbelly's Sandwich Works now. Why not be an alderman? That probably going to be a little better for me," said Burns.

Later Burns admitted he's not serious about responding to the job posting -- which appear on the City of Chicago's website -- to be alderman in either the 29th and 1st Wards. The 1st ward seat became vacant after Manny Flores, a politician some consider a mayoral challenger to Daley, quit to head up the Illinois Commerce Commission. The other seat opened up after then 29th Ward alderman and stringent Daley supporter Ike Carothers plead guilty to accepting kickbacks in exchange for pushing through zoning changes.

Mayor Daley's people say he is committed to getting interested candidates to submit a cover letter, resume' and three letters of recommendation from community leaders, area residents and others by the Friday deadline.

"There's a lot of people, a lot of people who would gladly put in for a job for alderman. Whether they are going to be picked, that's another question," said Jose Rodriguez.

Daley has made close to three dozen aldermanic appointments as mayor and this is the first time he's posted an online want ad to fill the $110,000 job. The city admits the online ad is a different approach, but officials hope it will encourage more people to apply.

"Clearly more people are getting their information from the internet," said Michael Mitchell, City of Chicago. He said the city wanted " reach a wider audience."

West Side Alderman Ed Smith is open to the idea.

"Of course the mayor has the responsibility in replacing that person. If he feels he should try another process, then he has the right to do that. I don't question that," said Ald. Smith.

UIC political science professor Dick Simpson said it remains to be seen if Daley's new approach is about government transparency or a possible re-election bid in 2011.

"Have they been active? There would be the test if whether if this is a good faith effort or a pr thing," said Simpson.

What does it take to apply?

An ad for aldermanic candidates in the 1st and 29th wards is posted online on the city's website, Applications are due on Friday, February 19.

To be eligible for the position, applicants must have lived in the ward for at least one year, be registered to vote and not owe taxes or any other debt to the City of Chicago. Also, applicants must be ready to sign a code of ethics and must "not have been convicted in any court located in the United States of any infamous crime, bribery, perjury, or other felony."

The positions are open because: Ald. Isaac Carothers (29th Ward) pleaded guilty to corruption charges late last month and is not allowed to serve; and Ald. Manny Flores, (1st Ward) resigned his post to accept an appointment by the governor to head the Illinois Commerce Commission.

More details on the requirements are available at

According to the ad, applications should be sent to Mayor Richard M. Daley, City Hall- Room 406, 121 North LaSalle Street, Chicago, IL 6062 and include:

  • A cover letter to Mayor Richard M. Daley expressing your interest in being considered for the appointment.
  • A resume that includes details about your community involvement and prior work experience.
  • At least three letters of recommendation from community leaders, business leaders, or residents of the ward.