Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is facing criticism for letting two of her top aides take time off ahead of the Fourth of July weekend, which was the deadliest weekend in the city this year.
The story: Lightfoot’s chief of staff, Sybil Madison, was reportedly out of office the Thursday and Friday before the holiday, on July 1 and July 2, according to the Chicago Tribune. The outlet also reported that Lightfoot’s deputy mayor for public safety, John O’Malley, was off duty for the better part of the week.
“[That] she allowed her staff to go on vacation … before what is traditionally the most dangerous weekend in the city of Chicago is outrageous,” Chicago Alderman Ray Lopez told Fox 32 Chicago. “It shows there’s a complete lack of commitment toward addressing the violence,’’ Lopez said.
“We’ve heard about the ‘whole of government’ approach for weeks now. But I guess that doesn’t apply to the people responsible for actually creating the policies,” Lopez told the Tribune.
Why it matters? More than 100 people and shot and at least 19 were killed in Chicago over the Fourth of July weekend. The violence made it the deadliest weekend of the year in the city so far. Chicago previously recorded around 2,000 shootings and more than 340 deaths, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Late last month, the city aldermen called for a public hearing by Committee on Public Safety, citing a rise in shootings and murders.
“What’s going wrong is nobody’s held accountable for this. Everyone’s trying to – you know – the scapegoat for the last three, four years is ‘put all the problems on the police.’ Because that’s somebody you could punish,” said Northwest Side 41st Ward Ald. Anthony Napolitano.
However, Lightfoot, as well as Police Supt. David Brown argued against a City Council emergency meeting called on July 2, saying it would distract from efforts to fight street crime at a time when Chicago was excepting a violent Fourth of July weekend.
“We were told the meeting we had last week was a waste of time, but your people are out of the office,” said alderman Anthony Beale.
Lightfoot’s response: “Working in the mayor’s office is a 24/7, 365 job, and members of the mayor’s senior staff are constantly connected,’’ a spokesperson for the mayor said. “Those responsible for on-the-ground operations continued to execute over the holiday weekend, and the Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff were fully engaged every day.”
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