Spin City and City Hall
The implied mission of Mayor Richard M. Daley's new chief of staff, Ron Huberman, is to reform city government -- do what none of the almost dozen chiefs of staff before him were unable to do. Monday, in a press conference he announced, along with City Corporation Council Mara Georges, that patronage and clout in city hiring is over. "It doesn't matter who you are. It doesn't matter who you know. We are operating as a meritocracy. Period. What will define who gets a job, what will define who gets promoted is simply who is the best person for the job."
Those were strong words from a new chief of staff in a town where "we don't want nobody nobody sent," is the watchword in city hiring and most private sector hiring. And it would seem that already, many of Chicago's media and political players have dismissed the idea of hiring reform -- and Huberman -- out of hand.
"Welcome to the job, kid....Are we supposed to believe this attempt at reform is genuine?" Daily Southtown editorial.
"...he is finally admitting that the administration has not been following the law. This stunning public admission will only add fuel to the U.S. attorney's efforts to weed out waste, fraud, corruption and abuse." Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. in the Sun Times.
"The patronage system is the best system. It's always been the best system....The chief of staff can say what he wants to say. But those are my feelings." Budget Committee Chairman William Beavers (7th).
"Clout dead in the city of Chicago?" said Ald. Brian Doherty (41st) to the Tribune. "I don't think that is ever going to happen."