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Sandi Jackson All But Names Her Successor As Emanuel Begins Search To Replace Her

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jan 17, 2013 7:20PM

Former Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th)
Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Wednesday he was accepting online applications for successors to Jackson and would form a committee to cull the proverbial wheat from the chaff of those candidates.

The web site will be up Friday and the panel will feature four members with “community representation,” Emanuel said. The panel, to be named next week, will “go through, interview people,” said the mayor, speaking at a Tribune-sponsored “Chicago Forward” event at the Field Museum. “They will give me recommendations so I will then select somebody.”

The next alderman for the South Side ward must have a record of “community involvement and engagement,” the mayor stated in a news release. Emanuel hopes to pick the replacement by mid-February.

Emanuel promised the search for a new 7th Ward alderman would be a transparent process. Maybe one of those online applicants will be someone named Keiana Barrett and he chooses her based on her qualifications and not because she was Sandi Jackson's chief of staff. The Sun-Times was able to obtain a recording of Jackson's farewell address to supporters Tuesday night where she all but guaranteed Barrett would succeed her.

Mary Mitchell has the details.

“From an insider’s point of view, Mayor Rahm may say he wants to have interviews. The people he will interview will be the people I am suggesting,” Jackson told the gathering made up mostly of precinct workers. “They are interviewing people in the community, but they do that to calm people down. People want to have their input. But for the most part, they turn that matter over to the alderman.”

There's one problem with the possibility of Barrett being appointed alderman: She doesn't live in the 7th Ward. No matter, said Jackson. As soon as Barrett does move within the 7th's boundaries, she's as good as in.

Mayoral press secretary Tarah Cooper told Mitchell that Jackson's comments were nonsense and that Emanuel was committed to transparency. Barrett indicated to Mitchell she had no knowledge of Jackson's wishes but is "interested in learning what the mayor’s appointment process will consist of."

"That is where my focus is now, and ensuring there is continuity in the ward," she said.