Brandon Johnson punished the aldermen behind the move for council independence and rewarded those who stood by him during the election.
Union organizer and Cook County Commissioner Brandon Johnson speaks after being projected winner as mayor on April 4, 2023 in Chicago, Illinois. (Alex Wroblewski/Getty Images)

The reorganization of the City Council that got underway in March, not long after Lori Lightfoot lost her bid for reelection in the mayoral primary, was a hot mess.

Under the guise of seeking greater independence from the next mayor — a laudable, good-government objective — three Lightfoot allies sought to lock in leadership positions before the new mayor was even elected. To get the votes needed, they expanded council committees to 28 from 19, a costly and cumbersome addition to the council structure.

But the usurpers never did get their hold on power. New councils elect their leadership, and this week, Mayor-elect Brandon Johnson and his allies unveiled the result of weeks of behind-the-scenes effort: After City Council members are sworn in May 15, the mayor will make committee appointments after all.

Johnson in one stroke this week punished the prime actors behind the move for council independence and rewarded those who stood with him during the election or helped advance his effort to exert control before inauguration day.

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David Greising is the president and chief executive of the Better Government Association, joining the BGA in 2018. For nearly a century, the BGA has fought for honest and effective government through investigative journalism and policy advocacy.