CCPSA interim president Anthony Driver (left) and interim vice president Remel Terry. Credit: Jim Daley

Seven finalists have been selected by mayor Brandon Johnson for the Community Commission on Public Safety and Accountability (CCSPA). Two of the mayor’s picks, Anthony Driver and Remel Terry, are currently the Commission’s interim president and interim vice president, respectively. The other five finalists have backgrounds in academia, law, and city and state government.

As mandated by the Empowering Communities for Public Safety (ECPS) ordinance that created the CCPSA, three of the permanent commissioners will serve two-year terms, and four will serve four-year terms. 

In addition to Driver and Terry, the mayor’s picks to serve on the permanent CCPSA are:

  • Aaron Gottlieb, an assistant professor at the University of Chicago Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice and a member of the Consent Decree Use of Force Working Group.
  • Abierre Minor, the chief fiscal officer of the Progressive Minds Show and the former chief of staff for state Senator Mattie Hunter.
  • Angel Rubi Navarijo, the director of constituent services for 48th Ward alderperson Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth and a member of the CCSPA’s Non-Citizen Advisory Council.
  • Kelly Presley, the associate general counsel of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago and a former attorney for the Illinois Department of Corrections, the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, and the Office of the Public Guardian.
  • Sandra Wortham, an attorney, president of the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, administrative law judge for the City of Chicago and a hearing officer for the State of Illinois who previously was a civilian CPD employee.

The seven finalists were informed by email on Friday. The mayor chose them from a list of fifteen candidates selected by a nominating committee made up of Police District Council (PDC) members. The Weekly broke the news Tuesday morning, and the CCPSA put out a press release confirming the names in the afternoon.

The seven-member interim CCPSA was appointed by then-Mayor Lori Lightfoot in August 2022. During their tenure, the interim commissioners have enacted policies that did away with the CPD’s notorious gang database and strengthened departmental rules banning members of hate groups from serving as officers. The interim CCPSA also played a major role in selecting Superintendent Larry Snelling, whom they shortlisted with two other candidates, marking a sea change in how Chicago’s top cop is chosen. Before Snelling, all superintendents were picked by the mayor with no formal input from civilian oversight bodies.

Along with the Commission, the city’s twenty-two PDCs were established by the ECPS ordinance. Each three-member council appointed one representative to serve on the nominating committee. The committee spent months establishing the application process and vetting candidates, ultimately interviewing dozens. On March 8, the committee sent fifteen names to the Mayor’s Office. Under the ordinance, the mayor had thirty days to select finalists, but missed that deadline, frustrating many PDC members. 

Interim CCPSA commissioner Yvette Loizon said that she’s glad Johnson has picked finalists because the city needs “strong community voices” heading into summer, with festivals, the Democratic National Convention and associated protests looming. Gun violence also typically peaks during summer months. But she added that the missed deadline has made the CCPSA’s work more difficult.

“The last few weeks have been traumatic for our city and the delay in appointing the new Commission made oversight very difficult at a time when it was crucial,” Loizon said. “I’m glad to see that the mayor chose a balanced Commission that will bring a wide variety of viewpoints.  This is hard work and there is a lot more of it to do.  It will take all seven appointees working collaboratively with each other and all stakeholders to ensure continued progress for our city’s public safety infrastructure.”

A spokesperson for the Mayor’s Office did not respond to the Weekly’s request for comment.

Asked about the missed deadline at an April 4 press conference, Mayor Johnson said that while expeditiousness is valuable, “being in a rush…could be sloppy, and I’m not sloppy.” Sources familiar with the vetting process told the Weekly on Monday that the Mayor’s Office did not interview any of the seven finalists before they were chosen.

The ECPS ordinance requires the City Council’s Police and Fire Committee to first consider the finalists before advancing them to the full Council for approval. Police and Fire chairperson Chris Taliaferro (29th Ward) told the Weekly on Monday that he would schedule a committee meeting as soon as the mayor’s office provides him with the list of finalists’ names.

The press release stated that the nominating committee will release a process report detailing how it vetted and selected candidates. “Our commitment to transparency extends beyond the nomination process,” said Angelica Green (PDC 25), a member of the committee, in the release. “We invite the public to review our report and gain insight into the efforts undertaken to ensure the selection of candidates who will serve our city with distinction.”

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Jim Daley is the Weekly’s investigations editor.

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