Newbie alderman: Secrets learned by—and kept from—City Council freshmen

In an audio interview with freshman Alderman Daniel La Spata of Chicago's 1st Ward, Dave Glowacz explores how new City Council members get the training and orientation needed to do their jobs.

In the interview, La Spata said that training provided by the city "was basically 'The Schoolhouse Rock' version of how a bill becomes a law."

What was missing? "Everything was missing," La Spata said. The city's three days of formal orientation is "not enough to learn the job."

"We want our aldermen to be the strongest civil servants they can possibly be," La Spata said, which takes "a much more robust orientation."

In the interview, La Spata described a whirlwind of departmental briefings with no time for Q&A; the poor (or nonexistent) transitions from existing aldermen to incoming aldermen; a lack of training on the key "hustling" part of their jobs; "truly absurd" committee meetings; how a new alderman hires and deals with the Streets and Sanitation ward superintendent; why constituent services support an alderman's legislative goals; and how Mayor Lori Lightfoot's executive order on aldermanic prerogative could have "problematic side effects."

La Spata also described how he and fellow freshman want to formalize future aldermanic transitions and training.

Length 6.1 minutes standard, 35 minutes premium.

Music: "Mastoom Mastoom/Asmar Asmar" by Turku, Nomads of the Silk Road

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