What does it take to be a Chicago alderman?

February 26, 2010 3:36:55 PM PST
Fewer than 100 people applied for two positions with six-figure pay, the possibility of pension and plenty of other perks. The job? Chicago City Council member.

There are some wild times but for most aldermen the day to day job is far more mundane with the occasional bit of bizarre.

"Someone had a dead rodent that was in their fence and they wanted me to come out there personally to get this because it was Friday and not for Monday. I did it," said Ald. Tom Tunney, 44th Ward.

The job pays $110,556 a year.

Friday ABC7 learned 90 people applied for two open seats. Those who don't live in the ward, owe money to the city or are convicted felons got immediately nixed. So, only 64 are eligible to serve.

After all, one of the openings is because Alderman Ike Carothers pled guilty to accepting free work on his home.

Mayor Richard Daley picks the two new aldermen, a process that's normally done entirely behind closed doors. But earlier this month, Daley put a "help wanted" notice on the city's Web site.

"Why not? You meet some interesting people. Besides that, you get some good ideas," said Mayor Richard M. Daley.

Edith Brown works for the West Side Eyes of Austin jobs group. She is among 25 people the mayor's staff will interview to be Alderman of the 29th Ward.

"Mayor Daley, more than anything else, I do want the position. I think I'm the best qualified person for it," said Brown.

The job certainly has its perks but Alderman Tom Tunney says it comes with long hours and headaches big and small.

"Parking is our number one issue. It's not the war in Iraq, it's about get parking on street side," said Tunney.

ABC7 learned 11 people submitted applications saying they wanted to be alderman of any of the wards with an open seat. One problem: none of those 11 lived in either ward.

The picks will likely be locally known community activists. But in a city where an old committeeman once said "don't send nobody, nobody sent" the semi-open application process is a change.