Johnson Chooses Powerful Committee Chairs
Not every supporter rewarded. New council president says picks reflect experience, not politics.
The council president has the unilateral ability to designate committee assignments and with that provide powerful chair positions. The chair of each committee sets the agenda, runs the meeting and has an outsized influence on what issues get addressed. Chairs also get increased media exposure and depending on the committee can leverage their post to raise campaign funds. Collectively the chairs also form the Steering & Rules Committee which often ends up addressing major issues, including investigations into other city departments.
“I am excited that loyalty is not the main criteria President Johnson is making decisions with,” said Alderman Nik Kovac who voted for Johnson, but now doesn’t have a chairmanship. He praised Johnson for focusing on unifying the council. “The mending of fences is probably the most important issue,” said the alderman. Kovac, who also started the last council session in 2016 without a chair, noted that the council had also been divided after the vote to elect Hamilton in 2016, but it became much more public this time.
Hamilton publicly challenged Johnson to unify the council after Johnson beat out Hamilton and later Coggs for the post.
“I am hoping that as we move forward we are not just calling on reunifying, we are calling with rectifying what causes this division,” said Hamilton. “As my first word of advice, it starts at the head. I am hoping that there is a recognition of this historical moment and what’s necessary to right the ship going forward.”
Hamilton is now chair of the Judiciary and Legislation Committee and Coggs will lead the Licenses Committee. Khalif Rainey, also a Coggs backer, has been switched from his role as chair of the Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee to Community and Economic Development.
Jose G. Perez takes over as head of the powerful zoning committee. Michael Murphy is back as head of the finance committee, a position he held before becoming council president in 2014. Bauman is back as Public Works Committee chair.
Dimitrijevic, who as a newly-elected official represented a key swing vote, will lead the Public Safety & Health Committee.
A full list of assignments is included below:
Community & Economic Development Committee
Finance & Personnel Committee
- Murphy (chair)
- Scott Spiker (vice chair)
Judiciary & Legislation Committee
- Hamilton (chair)
- Dodd (vice chair)
- Coggs (chair)
- Kovac (vice chair)
Public Safety & Health Committee
- Dimitrijevic (chair)
- Lewis (vice chair)
Public Works Committee
- Bauman (chair)
- Borkowski (vice chair)
Zoning, Neighborhoods & Development Committee
- Perez (chair)
- Coggs (vice chair)
Steering & Rules Committee
- Johnson (chair)
- Murphy (vice chair)
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