Daley Tears Weis A New One, Shakes Up Emergency Personnel

By Marcus Gilmer in News on Jul 11, 2008 4:37PM

2008_07_11_weis.jpgIt seems like just yesterday we were talking about Daley's public support of under-fire Police Superintendent Jody Weis...because it was. Behind closed doors, however, it's a different story entirely. Mayor Daley reportedly raked Weis over the coals in a closed door meeting over the alleged mistakes made during the Taste that led to violence and the overall rise in the city's violent crime this year. One source told the Sun-Times, "It wasn't quiet."

Weis was "searching for reasons other than police work" for the violence and, what patrons have called, an "intimidating atmosphere" at this year's Taste that threatens to destroy a marquee event and burst Daley's Olympic bubble. "He was trying to say, 'We did everything we could' to control the problems. The response [from Daley] was, 'Like hell,'" the source said.
It's no surprise that Daley has kept criticism of Weis private and supported him publicly. Daley circumvented the Police Board by rejecting all three of their proposed candidates and hired Weis on his own, giving him a contract through the 2011 election with a $310,000 annual salary. Part of Weis' salary covered his being the city's chief emergency officer. Daley, however, has other plans now. Yesterday, the Mayor relieved Weis of this duty and appointed Fire Commissioner Ray Orozco as head of the city's Office of Emergency Management and Communications. Deputy Fire Commissioner John Brooks will take over Orozco's old role and become Chicago's second-ever black Fire Commissioner.
"OEMC has always been in charge of disaster scenes," the mayor said, arguing that the embattled Weis would focus on "terrorism and other issues."

"Any time there's a major incident, Ray is in charge. The Fire Department is in charge. He's done a tremendous job in the Fire Department, so I really wanted to move him over to OEMC because first responders are usually the Fire Department. ... You have to have someone who understands the Fire and Police Departments in that position."

We're guessing Weis could use a hug right now. [Trib, S-T]