Don’t forget Ed Burke’s enablers

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Butcher paper no longer obscures the entry to Ald. Ed Burke’s City Hall office. But the federal agents who raided Burke’s lair left him politically weakened. Is that enough, finally, to bring scrutiny to the $100 million per year city workers’ compensation system that Burke monolithically controls?

Some Progressive Caucus aldermen see in Burke’s predicament a chance to strip him of that authority and hand the program to the city’s corporation counsel. If this gambit sounds familiar, you’re recalling one of the City Council’s many days of infamy: Feb. 10, 2016. The question is whether aldermen who didn’t find the courage to rein in Burke nearly three years ago will find it today.

Here’s how that sorry 2016 episode unfolded:

To placate citizens demanding an end to City Hall corruption, the aldermen reluctantly gave City Hall’s inspector general, Joseph Ferguson, the power to investigate them and their staffs. But in the day’s most important vote, the council voted 25-23 to keep Ferguson’s office from examining council programs that spend hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Each of those 25 yes votes — see the names of the guilty at the end of this editorial — was decisive. And reprehensible.

Nays (23): Proco Joe Moreno, 1st; Pat Dowell, 3rd; Susan Sadlowski Garza, 10th; Marty Quinn, 13th; Toni Foulkes, 16th; Matthew O’Shea, 19th; Willie Cochran, 20th; Michael Zalewski, 23rd; Michael Scott Jr., 24th; Chris Taliaferro, 29th; Milagros “Milly” Santiago, 31st; Scott Waguespack, 32nd; Deborah Mell, 33rd; Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, 35th; Nicholas Sposato, 38th; Anthony Napolitano, 41st; Brendan Reilly, 42nd; Michele Smith, 43rd; John Arena, 45th; James Cappleman, 46th; Ameya Pawar, 47th; Harry Osterman, 48th; Debra Silverstein, 50th.

Absent (2): Roberto Maldonado, 26th; Carrie Austin, 34th.

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December 17, 2018 at 01:33PM

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