CHICAGO — The Great Resignation has come to City Council, with alderpeople resigning and retiring left and right — and Mayor Lori Lightfoot said she expects to see even more join those ranks.
A dozen alderpeople out of City Council’s 50 have resigned recently or announced they won’t run for reelection or will seek another office. Ald. Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th) joined them Monday when she announced she won’t run for reelection after two terms representing the Southeast Side.
“There’s been a lot written about the Great Resignation,” Lightfoot said at an unrelated news conference Tuesday morning. “Aldermen are not indifferent to that.”
Some alderpeople have said they’re changing jobs to focus on their families or other pursuits. Others plan to challenge Lightfoot in the mayoral race, which means they can’t run to be an alderman.
And it’s a “tough” time to be an incumbent candidate and a civil servant, as the pandemic has posed unique challenges to political leaders, Lightfoot said.
“It’s been very difficult … to be a public servant, to be on the front line,” Lightfoot said. “They have a job that is very different than anyone else. … I think a number who have served … have just decided, ‘I want to move on and do something different.’
“The Great Resignation didn’t pass us by. People were making decisions about what’s in the best interest for them and their family, and particularly if they’ve been at it for decades, as many have. I expect to see more announcements in the coming days and weeks.”
Lightfoot — who is running for reelection as mayor — has had a sometimes prickly relationship with various aldermen, leading to fiery back-and-forths at City Council and in meetings. But she said she and “most of the members of City Council” have been able to govern together over the past three years.
“We’ve done tremendous things over the three-plus things I’ve been mayor to benefit our residents,” Lightfoot said. “We’re not gonna agree on every issue, but we don’t have to; it’s a democracy. We debate and then we compromise.”
The aldermanic elections are in February.
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