When Will Nikiya Dodd Resign?
Alderwoman returns after six-week absence, declines to answer any questions from press.
Alderwoman Nikiya Dodd returned to City Hall Friday, appearing at a Common Council meeting for the first time since September.
Dodd took part in the Common Council’s annual budget adoption meeting, voting when called on, but didn’t speak on any of the proposed amendments or other budget actions. After the meeting, she declined questions from the press and was quickly escorted out of the council chambers by Alderman Russell W. Stamper, II.
Prior to the budget meeting, Dodd was last present for an in-person, public meeting on Sept. 20. She participated virtually in the Community and Economic Development Committee on Sept. 28. She has missed the last two council meetings, held on Oct. 11 and Nov. 1., as well as a public hearing on the budget.
Her extended absence comes as council members already find themselves spending extra time at committee meetings given that four of the 15 council seats are currently vacant. On multiple occasions, council members have had to temporarily sit on committees just to satisfy quorum requirements.
Common Council President Jose G. Perez previously said it was important for Dodd, 47, to attend the budget adoption meeting because at least 10 votes would be needed to adopt the tax levy. The council only has 11 members currently.
Perez, on Nov. 1., said Dodd would need to resign by the end of the month in order for a special election to be called that coincides with the normal spring election cycle. “It’s imperative I hear from her if that’s the case,” said the council president. The winner of the election would serve through April 2024.
The 5th council district represented by Dodd is located on the northwest side of the city. It runs from W. Bradley Rd. to W. Center St., primarily between N. 76th St. and W. Appleton Ave. and the city’s western border. The seat was previously held by Jim Bohl, who resigned to take a job in Tom Barrett‘s administration and is now chief of staff to Mayor Cavalier Johnson.
Relief is on the way for her colleagues, whether she resigns or not. Two seats will be filled in the week following the Nov. 8 election. Representative Jonathan Brostoff is the only candidate on the ballot to replace Nik Kovac, who resigned in May to become city budget director. And a two-way race between Mark Chambers Jr. and Jerel Ballard will decide who fills Johnson’s former council seat.
Special elections have yet to be called to replace Chantia Lewis, removed from office for felony misconduct, and Ashanti Hamilton, newly appointed Office of Violence Prevention director. Those races are expected to be called by Perez in the coming weeks to meet state statutory requirements to be part of the spring election cycle. The city has sought to avoid calling stand-alone special elections because they cost tens of thousands of dollars to administer.