Greising: Can Lightfoot Turn Her All-inclusive Transition Brainstorm Into Real Governing?

The Chicago mayor-elect has involved some 400 experts in her transition effort. Will any of those ideas turn into action?

Chicago mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot (Timothy Hiatt/Getty Images)

BGA President David Greising writes every other week for the Chicago Tribune Opinion section.

There is a difference between seeking expert opinion and crowdsourcing a cacophony. And Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot, in her come-one-come-all transition has flirted with the latter.

At a carefully stage-managed event on Friday, Lightfoot will be presented with a hefty report, the work product of a diverse external advisory team that offered counsel on everything from arts and culture to economic development, from housing to infrastructure.

The occasion will mark the end of the blue sky phase of Lightfoot’s mayoralty. From that point forward, the rough and tumble of actual governing will begin, with Lightfoot responsible for the results.

Credit Lightfoot with this: In the transition effort, she took no half measures. Rather, she mounted one of the biggest mobilizations of deep thinkers in modern memory: some 400 experts, each with thoughts for Lightfoot to carry into her fifth-floor office at City Hall.

If each one of the transition participants limited themselves to only one thought, it would have given Lightfoot’s staff more than enough to think about.

But that’s not the way it actually has worked. When a mayor-elect with reformer ambitions invites that many informed citizens to a think-fest, they’re going to share their thoughts.

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