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New Leadership in City Hall

By Kevin Robinson in News on Apr 21, 2008 1:40PM

On Thursday last week, Mayor Daley announced that Richard Rodriguez, the city's former buildings chief, would head the city's Department of Aviation. Rodriguez, a Chicago native, oversaw the reunification of the Buildings Department with the Department of Construction and Permits, a move Daley said saved the city $2 million. Daley, who split the two departments in '03, called Rodriguez "a good manager. He rolls up his sleeves, he gets involved, and it's not an eight-hour job." As aviation commissioner, Rodriguez will oversee both O'Hare International and Midway Airports. O'Hare has had several high-profile security issues recently, and the city has failed to negotiate agreements with both American and United Airlines for financing of the second phase of the airport expansion. The city is also currently exploring options to privatize Midway. “People don’t realize that the whole improvement of O’Hare International Airport is vital to our future,” the mayor told the Tribune. “You have to complete it. It’s not for the airlines today. It could be the airlines for the future.”


Also on Thursday, the city's new hiring regulator, Anthony Boswell, held his first ethics training session for the mayor's cabinet. Boswell, an attorney from Denver with private-sector experience in compliance and hiring issues, said "it's about working through the upper-level management of the city, including the mayor, to send a different message.... I believe we have a strong message from the top, given that the mayor was in attendance today for the roll out of the code." But when asked about the court case that led to the creation of the city's Office of Compliance, Boswell avoided details. "I was not around when the Sorich trial took place," he told the Tribune. "I'm sorry I can't speak to the details. You'll have to speak to other officials about that. But my concern is this compliance program, and the mayor has expressed significant support."

22nd Ward Ald. Ricardo Muñoz wasn't so sure. "I find it hard to believe that anyone dealing with issues of hiring, code of conduct and compliance would not know about the case," he said. "I suggest he review the conduct that the court and a jury found in violation of the public trust because that is what we want to root out." After the training session, Boswell unveiled a new, 25-page Code of Conduct for city workers and contractors.
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