Sandi Jackson's Chief of Staff Keiana Barrett to lead 7th Ward operations until replacement is found

January 14, 2013 3:03:03 PM PST
Despite her resignation on Friday, it was business as usual on Monday for the staff of former Alderman Sandi Jackson.

Until her replacement is able to form an office, Jackson's Chief of Staff Keiana Barrett will lead operations at the 7th Ward.

Barrett will lead the same staff, providing services as usual.

"We want to ensure there is a seamless process, because the constituents deserve that," said Barrett.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has 60 days to appoint a new council member to represent the ward until the next city election in 2015.

Dorian Myricks, a potential candidate for the seat, told ABC7 he was campaigning even before Jackson's resignation.

"We're prepared to go in and interview with Mr. Rahm Emanuel and if we don't meet those standards, we're prepared to go through the full process of being voted in on 2015," said Myricks.

In the 2011 city election, Jackson won easily in a six-candidate race, more than doubling the vote total of the second place finisher.

Throughout Jackson's time in office, the ward has been plagued with gun violence.

Some claimed that she spent too much time at the home she shares in Washington with her husband and two children.

"When she was here, things got done. It was during her absence that things kind of fell by the wayside," said Glenn Harrell, resident.

"I hate what the situation is right now, but hopefully, things will get better," said Anthony Harvey, resident.

The incoming alderman must sustain the momentum Jackson brought to the multi-billion dollar Lakeside Project on the Southeast Side. It is on the former site of Chicago's U.S. Steel Plant, the largest tract of undeveloped land on the city's lakefront that includes 18,000 housing units.

"I am brokenhearted? The mayor knows equally as well as I the passion that has to be brought to bear to develop this site," developer Dan McCaffery said of Jackson's resignation.

In her resignation letter, she wrote:

"As a representative of the people of the 7th Ward, I value the public trust which has been bestowed upon me and take my responsibility to safeguard the interests of my constituents seriously. Likewise, I am unapologetically a wife and a mother and I cannot deny my commitment to those most important personal responsibilities. . . "

Jackson went on to write that her constituents "deserve a partner who can commit all of their energies to the business of the people. Therefore, it is with a heavy heart that I tender my resignation as Alderman of 7th Ward, effective January 15, 2013."

Jackson has served in the 7th Ward since 2007. Jackson has missed several meetings in recent months, citing the reason as her family responsibilities. Her husband, former Congressman Jesse Jackson Junior, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder in June 2012, and stepped down in November. For several years, he was the focus of a House ethics investigation after trying to obtain the U.S. Senate seat left vacant by President Barack Obama.