Mayor Lightfoot says she has no plans to change amid Chicago City Council mass exodus

Susan Sadlowski Garza becomes 13th alderperson to leave City Council

Craig Wall Image
Tuesday, September 6, 2022
Amid City Council mass exodus, Lightfoot has no plans to change
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Amid a mass exodus from Chicago City Council, Mayor Lori Lightfoot is making it clear that if she's reelected, she has no plans to change.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Another alderman has jumped on the bandwagon of those joining the mass exodus from the Chicago City Council. And the list is expected to grow as soon as Wednesday.

10th Ward Alderwoman Susan Sadlowski Garza was the latest to announce her retirement plans on Monday. She plans to step down at the end of her term next spring.

But Mayor Lori Lightfoot is making it clear that if she's reelected, she has no plans to change how she deals with a revamped city council.

RELATED | 44th Ward Alderman Tom Tunney to retire from City Council at end of term

"I've been in a helping profession for almost 32 years and my husband retired last month. And it's just time," Sadlowski Garza said.

Sadlowski Garza has represented the city's Southeast Side for the past eight years. She said she will miss her team and the some aspects of the job, but not what she says the Chicago City Council has become.

"Contentious, dysfunctional, I think would be good words," Sadlowski Garza said.

Sadlowski Garza becomes the 13th member of the city council to announce plans to leave or who have already moved on for various reasons.

Howard Brookins will be making an announcement Wednesday and he is expected to join that growing list.

"There's been a lot written about the Great Resignation, aldermen are not indifferent to that," Lightfoot said. "And it's been very difficult over these last couple of years in particular to be a public servant."

Sadlowski Garza does not point the finger of blame at the mayor for the contentious nature of the city council, although some of her colleagues do.

"A lot of people are angry and disgruntled with a lot of different things," said Sadlowski Garza.

Lightfoot contends she does not govern by fist, but works with aldermen. But if she wins a second term, don't expect a so-called kinder, gentler mayor.

"Look, I'm 60 years old, I'm not going to change who I am," Lightfoot said.

Lightfoot was asked her thoughts on Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson inching closer to a possible run for mayor.

"None. I'm doing my day job," Lightfoot said.

As for a second term, Lightfoot said it's tough to be an incumbent. She is currently facing numerous challengers already, including thee aldermen. Should she get reelected, she could face a city council that might be much more independent with so many new faces.

Longtime Lakeview Alderman Tom Tunney, who announced last week that he will not seek another term, has hinted he might be a fourth candidate.

James Cappleman and Harry Osterman have also announced they are not running for re-election. Michele Smith resigned earlier this month.

Longtime alderperson Leslie Hairston announced she would not be running for re-election last month.