Greising: Real Pension Reform? Mayor Lightfoot Could Hold the Key

With a mandate for reform and evidence of a deeper-than-realized budget hole, Mayor Lori Lightfoot could push Springfield for action on pension reform.


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

Any question about Mayor Lori Lighftoot’s ability to exert control over the Chicago City Council evaporated the moment Ald. Ed Burke, 14th, objected to the first procedural motion of the Lightfoot administration.

“Alderman, please,” the new mayor said. “Alderman, I will call you when I’m ready to hear from you.”

Burke wasn’t heard from again. Not by Lightfoot, not by anyone else in the council chambers. A politician who has dominated council proceedings for at least a generation — and got reelected in February despite facing a federal public corruption charge — was forced to sit down and shut up.

And with that verbal flick of the wrist, the Lightfoot administration was underway. This is what it looks like when a mayor who won 75 percent of the vote seizes the gavel and starts hammering away at reform.

It’s also just the beginning of the grueling work ahead — on equity, on violence, on a host of other issues. And above all that looms pensions, the most vexing and inflexible problem facing the city.

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