Embattled alderman, cop pay raise & Lightfoot’s plan to sue gangs highlight Council meeting

CHICAGO — Apologies, contracts and ordinances took center stage Tuesday during Chicago’s city council meeting.

Chicago’s city council approved a new contract for rank and file Chicago police officers, ensuring a 20% raise and more than $377 million in back pay. Forty members voted yes. Eight, including Alderwoman Maria Hadden (49th Ward), voted against the ordinance. 

“I think we need to hold out and finish the agreement. We need to get all of the protections that we’re looking for,” Hadden said. “We need to get all the reforms that we’re looking for.”

Also, at Tuesday’s city council meeting, Mayor Lori Lightfoot introduced her ordinance to seize assets of Chicago gangs members. Under the plan, the city’s corporation counsel would bring lawsuits against gangs.

“To be very blunt and clear, we are going after their blood money,” Lightfoot said. “Money they have profited from the killing of innocents.”

Alderwoman Rossana Rodriquez Sanchez (33rd Ward) blocked the measure from advancing, sending it to the Rules Committee, where ordinances have historically gone to die.  

“We believe that that ordinance is a PR move so that the administration can say they are doing something about crime,” Rodriquez Sanchez said.

Several council members, community groups and the American Civil Liberties Union oppose the ordinance but Mayor Lightfoot said she plans to push ahead. 

Embattled Aldermen Jim Gardiner (45th Ward) also appeared at Tuesday’s city council meeting.

The alderman, under fire for profane text messages he apparently sent, thus bringing about an FBI probe reportedly looking into whether he retaliated against constituents for political purposes, apologized for his actions.

During the meeting, Gardiner apologized and said he never acted on his threats. 

“Today, I do not speak to you as a politician. I speak to you as a human being who has sinned,” he said.

Some councilwomen say the matter is not over

“I’m glad he stood up and took responsibility,” said Alderwoman Susan Sadowski Garza (10th Ward. “But he should have spoke from his heart, not read off a piece of paper. 

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