One of the mainstays of the Chicago City Council is reportedly preparing to retire -- and is planning to appoint his daughter to fill the pending vacancy.
Per the Chicago Sun-Times, Ald. Richard Mell (33rd) has informed his associates that he plans to retire "within the next few months" from the City Council, where he serves as chairman of the Rules Committee, after 38 years. Surpassed only by Ed Burke, he is the second-longest running Chicago alderman.
Democratic State Rep. Deb Mell, Mell's daughter, is reportedly poised to take his place on the council and, in so doing, would become the city's first openly lesbian alderman. Deb Mell has been active in both the push for marriage equality in Illinois as well as the successful campaign to pass a civil union law in 2011. Mell was elected to the statehouse in 2008.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Dick Mell called the report "premature" and said he's "been retiring for for the past five years." He added that he may not make the decision to retire this year.
A Friday tweet from Deb Mell also cast doubt over the Sun-Times report, even as Mayor Rahm Emanuel acknowledged to the paper Friday afternoon that he had talked with Ald. Mell about his plan to retire:
Whereas I am truly honored to receive so many wonderful messages, I am 100% focused and love my job as State Rep of the 40th district.
— Deb Mell (@debmell) January 4, 2013
As NBC Chicago reports, Mell's possible retirement would have a big political impact and would be seen as the end of an era for the council." Mell, 74, is the father-in-law of convicted former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, with whom he had a very public falling out.