Public Meetings Report. Illustration by Holley Appold/South Side Weekly
Public Meetings Report. Illustration by Holley Appold/South Side Weekly

Public Meetings Report – June 22, 2022

A recap of select open meetings at the local, county, and state level

  1. Public Meetings Report – March 18, 2021
  2. Public Meetings Report – April 1, 2021
  3. Public Meetings Report – April 15, 2021
  4. Public Meetings Report – April 29, 2021
  5. Public Meetings Report – May 13, 2021
  6. Public Meetings Report – May 27, 2021
  7. Public Meetings Report – June 10, 2021
  8. Public Meetings Report – June 24, 2021
  9. Public Meetings Report – July 08, 2021
  10. Public Meetings Report – July 22, 2021
  11. Public Meetings Report – August 05, 2021
  12. Public Meetings Report – August 19, 2021
  13. Public Meetings Report – September 30, 2021
  14. Public Meetings Report – October 14, 2021
  15. Public Meetings Report – October 28, 2021
  16. Public Meetings Report – November 11, 2021
  17. Public Meetings Report – November 25, 2021
  18. Public Meetings Report – December 9, 2021
  19. Public Meetings Report – January 13, 2022
  20. Public Meetings Report – January 27, 2022
  21. Public Meetings Report – February 10, 2022
  22. Public Meetings Report – February 24, 2022
  23. Public Meetings Report – March 10, 2022
  24. Public Meetings Report – March 24, 2022
  25. Public Meetings Report – April 7, 2022
  26. Public Meetings Report – April 21, 2022
  27. Public Meetings Report – May 5, 2022
  28. Public Meetings Report – May 19, 2022
  29. Public Meetings Report – June 2, 2022
  30. Public Meetings Report – June 22, 2022

May 24

At its meeting the City Council Committee on Committees and Rules took a key step forward in the realization of the new Community Commission for Public Safety and Accountability by voting to send a list of fourteen nominees to the mayor. Approved by the City Council last July, the new agency is a historic effort at  “a community-led Commission for oversight of the Chicago Police Department and its relevant agencies.” The commission is to interact with several law enforcement and public safety agencies, including the Police Board, and wield influence in connection with their activities. The mayor is charged with selecting seven of the nominees to serve on the commission until members are elected and take seats in 2023. A proposal to lift a ban on private companies booting vehicles on private land went back to the Committee on License and Consumer Protection. Private vehicle booting has become controversial, in part because some alderpersons object to enacting an ordinance in connection with the practice.  

May 25

At the Chicago Public Schools Board of Education meeting, the board voted 3-2 to pay $175 million in city pension obligations for non-teaching CPS employees. Previously, the city paid these obligations. The board also learned that U.S. News & World Report has ranked five CPS high schools among the top one hundred learning environments—meaning, in effect, the schools provide safe settings that support students academically—in the country. The board announced that four CPS teachers have received Golden Apple awards for teaching excellence, noted that CPS is third in the nation in the number of nationally board-certified teachers, and learned about testimonials from Dream Fund scholarship recipients. The Dream Fund is a CPS program that supports students whose immigration status prevents them from receiving scholarships and financial help. The board also announced that a local women-owned food service business, Open Kitchens, will be a direct vendor preparing meals for 163 schools without kitchens. CPS CEO Pedro Martinez encouraged students to participate in summer programs to stay active, engaged, and safe, especially those available through the city’s My CHI. My Future. digital platform.  

May 26

At the Chicago Police Board meeting, Tamara Mahal, chief of the mayor’s Community Safety Coordination Center (CSCC), explained how her team is working to foster collaboration between police and community groups to address the root causes of violence. The Police Board considered three disciplinary matters. It voted to discharge two officers for misconduct: one for domestic violence and another for filing a false report and failing to follow proper procedure.  Officer Bruce Dyker retired before disciplinary action against him proceeded in connection with an altercation with Nikkita Brown, who was walking her dog at North Avenue Beach last summer, which was caught on his bodycam. 

May 27

At its meeting, the Cook County Health and Hospitals System Board of Directors heard from Cook County Health nurses dissatisfied with a lack of COVID retention benefits and low wages for permanent nurses compared to those for travel nurses and nurses in other hospital systems. The extension of the federal public health emergency period has resulted in significantly larger-than-projected enrollment in the CountyCare Medicaid Health Plan and temporarily prevents newly ineligible members from being disenrolled. The emergency period is expected to last through mid-October, and CCH plans to consider disenrolling about 25,000 members per month when it ends. The board approved a proposed strategic plan covering the next three years. 

June 1

At the Cook County Board of Commissioners Alternative Health Intervention and Response Task Force meeting, county officials and health-care leaders discussed the  county’s preparation for mental and behavioral health emergencies. The board guided discussion using a SWOT analysis of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Signed into law on August 25, 2021 by Governor J.B. Pritzker, the Community Emergency Services and Supports Act (CESSA) requires emergency response operators to refer calls related to mental and behavioral health to a new service that can dispatch a team of mental health professionals instead of police, marking a significant change from traditional policy. Several gaps apparently exist in implementation of the law, especially regarding stabilization and receiving centers. To carry out its work, the program essentially relies on “community partnerships” with seventeen nonprofits. Commissioners heard concerns about lower wages for frontline workers, fewer union city employees, less FOIA liability for the city, less transparency, too much nonprofit leadership, and unclear accountability for failed pilot programs.

June 2

The goal of the Chicago Housing Trust Board of Directors meeting was to touch on several topics for expanding and improving Chicago Housing Trust (CHT), including new construction areas and development, auditing, financial distribution from the City of Chicago, and new board members. Previously known as the Chicago Community Land Trust, the new agency’s stated goals, according to its website, are to expand housing access, stability, and affordability so that homes are “assets within reach for people seeking ownership.” Kathryn Tholin, a CHT board member and formerly CEO of the Center for Neighborhood Technology, explained that housing units are currently available in the traditional and pilot programs. The CHT is looking at ways to market to target populations, including an October trolley property-viewing tour for prospective owners and partners, such as social service agencies and community groups. Finances took up much of the meeting. For example, in 2021 the trust acquired three properties for $696,000 and received a City of Chicago grant of $290,000. In 2020, the group received $3.25 million from the City, with restrictions. The CHT sait it is also working with private companies to develop affordable housing in innovative ways.

June 7

At the City Council Committee on Environmental Protection and Energy meeting, ComEd CEO Gil Quinoniones and President and COO Terry Donnelly explained the steps the utility is taking as  a result of the deferred prosecution agreement filed last year. They said, essentially, that ComEd is working to demonstrate that it can be more transparent and a leader in corporate stewardship. Despite the lack of agreement on a new thirty-year franchise commitment with the City of Chicago, the executives reported that the utility has taken and is continuing to make efforts toward cleaner and more efficient energy transmission. Donnelly speculated that a franchise commitment can be reached within the next twelve months. City administrators also made several reports to the committee regarding ComEd. For example, Sandra Blakemore, acting commissioner of the city’s Department of Assets, Information, and Services, noted that data showed that “environmental justice communities” have more frequent outages and outages of longer duration than the remainder of the city. Given the importance of ensuring a reliable grid for Chicago’s most vulnerable residents, AIS is concerned about these initial findings and will prioritize examining the data further.

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This information was collected in large part using reporting from City Bureau’s Documenters at documenters.org.

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