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Daley's Disconnect

  Weisdaley The end of Jody Weis' contract as Police Superintendent is more evidence that the transition underway in Chicago city government is anything but seamless. 

 This is not the Mayor Richard M. Daley Chicagoans have known for most of the past 22 years.

  This is not the all-controlling, micro-manager who was aware of his administration's every twitch, unless of course, the F.B.I. and/or the U.S. Attorney's office was involved.

  (Those were the only occasions hizzoner lapsed into his "Gee, I dunno" mode)

  Surely, Daley did know that Weis' $310,000 a year contract ended on March 1st and would have to be extended until Mayor-elect Rahm Emanuel was inaugurated (May 16th) and could hire a replacement.

  But Daley and wife Maggie spent the last week of February on vacation in the Virgin Islands while the city's top public safety officer's job status remained in limbo. 

  When Weis bailed on Tuesday, it ignited the kind of city hall chaos we have rarely seen since 1989.

Hillard Thank heaven for good soldiers like Terry Hillard, the former Superintendent, who has agreed to come out of retirement to lead the department in the interim. 

  So when did Mayor Daley begin to lose his "mojo"?

  There are some who suggest he began to disengage as long ago as October, 2009 when the city lost its bid to host the 2016 Olympics.

   Certainly, his job perspective changed in the Spring of 2010 when his wife's medical condition worsened.

   Remember, that was around the same time that the Chicago Public Schools' Chief Education Officer quit and the Mayor never named a replacement.  As reported in this space, the 430,000-student school district opened its 2010/2011 academic year without anyone in charge of instruction.

   Next, after Daley announced he would not run for re-election, his CPS Chief Executive Officer Ron Huberman suddenly jumped ship in the middle of the first semester.

  And what about the Mayor's "kick-the-can-down-the-road" city budget?

  All agree that Daley and the current city council (which included over a dozen lame-duck members) left the inevitable, really tough decisions on service reductions, tax and/or fee increases to their successors. 

  Richard M. Daley has given this city so much of himself during the past two decades, I guess he deserves the right to loosen his grip on its day-to-day dealings and to prepare for retirement.

  But for a couple of more months, it will take some getting used to not having Daley in complete control.


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