By JONATHAN BALLEW
CHICAGO — The Committee on Public Safety met at city hall Friday to consider Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s desired appointment of Andrea Zopp to the Chicago Police Board.
While the city met the established guidelines of releasing information about the meeting 48 hours prior, members of the public voiced their concerns that the appointment was a rush-job and the city should slow down and consider community input.
At the meeting Friday morning, Alderman Reboyras decided to recess until Monday – likely due to unexpected media presence and the fact that only two other alderman showed up.
The next meeting will take place Monday at city hall at 9:00 a.m. in room 201A.
The police board currently has a vacancy and has been looking to add its ninth member. Members of the police board hand down verdicts in cases of serious police misconduct. Each appointment has a five year term.
Emanuel announced his intention to appoint Zopp in a Nov. 8 press release.
Aneel Chablani, Advocacy Director for the Chicago Lawyers Committee For Civil Rights, took the opportunity to address Reboyras and the committee.
“For true accountability the board must retain its independence and be free of political pressures,” he said. “The appointment of someone that has just served in the mayor’s inner circle raises legitimate questions about that independence and should be explored.”
Chablani took care to note that there were no qualms with Zopp’s credentials or commitment to public service. However, he did question whether or not a rushed process would hurt community trust.
“The question for Monday is whether The rushed manner of this approval with two days notice will further public confidence of these institutions of oversight,” he said. “We believe the answer is no. We ask [the committee] to delay the vote until there is an opportunity for meaningful public comment.”
“Any inconvenience caused by the delay to allow this period of public comment will be greatly outweighed by the benefits of bringing transparency and accountability to the system and furthering public confidence in these institutions,” Chablani concluded.
With only 48 hours notice for a major appointment to the police board, it does not appear that public input was not high on the mayor’s (or the committees) list of priorities.
After the meeting Reboyras did take the time to answer questions.
Reporters raised concerns that Zopp has been a part of the mayor’s inner-circle. One reporter asked why the city was not using this appointment as an opportunity to show the public that they have a voice too.
Reboyras responded by citing Zopp’s credentials and track record.
When asked why the meeting was kept quiet, Reboyras said, “we put out the notice as a rule, 48 hours in advance.”
Unless there is significant public outcry, Zopp will likely be appointed Monday Nov. 20.
Those that wish to delay this crucial vote should immediately and persistently contact: local media outlets, their local alderman and Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office.
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