Could Emanuel-Burke struggle overshadow new council?

April 13, 2011 3:50:13 PM PDT
As Chicago's current City Council held its penultimate meeting Wednesday, 14th Ward Alderman Ed Burke told ABC7 he has not talked to Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel at all during the past six weeks.

ABC7 videotaped the men shaking hands at a luncheon two days after Emanuel's election. But Burke said he had not talked to Emanuel since that encounter.

"No, I've written a letter saying congratulations and good luck," Burke told ABC7.

ABC7 asked Burke, the council's most senior alderman, if he will try for another term as finance chairman despite his continued frosty relationship with the mayor-elect.

"I think those who I've served with over the last few years would be supportive. The new members I'm going to have to get better acquainted with," Burke answered.

Emanuel gave ABC7's Charles Thomas a speedy high-five as he literally ran out of a ballroom Wednesday.

Fourteen aldermen, retirees and election losers, will be leaving their offices with hopes their replacements are fast learners.

"I think they'll find their way. There will be some stumbling blocks but there are in everything. But eventually things will settle in," said Ald. Freddrenna Lyle, 6th Ward.

Nothing will settle in, however, before the political struggle involving Burke, the council's powerful finance committee chairman, and Mayor-elect Emanuel is resolved.

When asked about mayor-council relations in general, Mayor Richard M. Daley appeared to side with Emanuel.

"You need a good leader, and he will become a good leader. The issue is bigger than any City Council member. You know that. Issues are bigger than that," said Daley.

Mayor-elect Emanuel has said that he has talked to over 40 of the 50 Chicago aldermen trying to enlist council members to join in his effort to reform city government. Apparently, Burke, who has been an alderman for nearly 43 years, has not been part of those conversations.