When Brandon Johnson was sworn in as mayor May 15, to all outward appearances, he was assuming an office replete with the same grand powers it always had.
But the mayoralty Johnson acquired was weaker than the one Lori Lightfoot gained, which itself had weakened since Rahm Emanuel’s inauguration. Only Richard M. Daley, during his record six terms, greatly expanded the office by adding control of Chicago Public Schools to its arsenal of power.
The powers of the mayor’s office have eroded, piece by incremental piece — cuts to the powers of appointment for police chiefs, the advent of an elected school board and, this week, changes to the way inspectors general are nominated. But that hardly means Johnson, or any other mayor, must be hamstrung by the snips and trims over the years.
The new requirement that the mayor must select a new police superintendent nominee from a list created by the new Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability stands out as one way in which the mayor’s office has ceded power.
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