Mayor Emanuel issues report card, outlines goals

June 16, 2011 (CHICAGO)

From putting more police officers on the streets, to more jobs in the private sector, the mayor has had his hands full.

The mayor talked about his first month in office Thursday and even issued a report card for his performance. In his report on his first 30 days in office, Emanuel tried to focus on the positive, even as storm clouds gathered around several issues facing City Hall.

The mayor stood next to large posters suggesting that in a month he had already accomplished over a third of the goals he set for his first 100 days in office.

"I'm proud of this, but as I think you know by now, I ain't resting on it," Emanuel said.

Among other accomplishments, Emanuel recalled cutting $75 million from what's left of Mayor Richard M. Daley's 2011 spending plan and another $75 million from the school system's budget. He announced 2,700 new white collar jobs for downtown and redeployed 650 police officers into high crime neighborhoods. Those are on his list of accomplishments, downloadable here.

For a grade, Emanuel gave himself an "incomplete."

"I will say this about my cabinet and my administration: They have been working tirelessly, and I'd give them an 'A,' " said Emanuel.

The mayor's list did not mention Wednesday's vote by the deficit-challenged school board to rescind the teachers union's 4 percent pay increase.

The mayor called the decision "a step forward" then took an indirect shot at the Daley administration for trading teacher pay raises for labor peace at the expense of students.

"Our children got the shaft," Emanuel said.

Meanwhile, Emanuel's plan for a revenue-generating Chicago casino appears to be on the ropes.

A skeptical Illinois Governor Pat Quinn responded to gaming board chairman Aaron Jaffe's assessment this week that the gambling expansion bill is "garbage."

"I want the full opportunity to hear from Judge Jaffe and the people on the gaming board who are on the front lines protecting the public," said Quinn.

"I hope he'll take the time to evaluate the bill, weigh the equities. Hopefully he'll see the conclusion I saw," Emanuel said.

While the mayor also touted his early efforts aimed at ending corruption that marred the Daley years at City Hall, his list indicated he had made no impact on reducing violence in Chicago neighborhoods or of late in the Loop and Magnificent Mile.

"Do I have disappointments? Yeah, that I haven't gotten all those checked off yet and made that bigger impact, because I know change is essential to the city's future," said Emanuel.

During his next 30 days Emanuel will have to reach an agreement with city labor unions on furlough days. The current agreement expires on June 30. The unions will have a choice of continued days off without pay or face layoffs.

You can almost count the days left in Rahm Emanuel's honeymoon.

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