One day after former Ald. Sandi Jackson's resignation from Chicago's City Council went into effect, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Wednesday he would soon be accepting online applications from individuals who hope to replace the wife of ex-U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.
But, meanwhile, the ex-7th Ward Alderman herself, according to the Chicago Sun-Times' Mary Mitchell, assured her supporters this week that her successor on the council will, ultimately, be of her choosing.
"From an insider’s point of view, Mayor Rahm may say he wants to have interviews. The people he will interview will be the people I am suggesting," Jackson said Tuesday evening, according to the Sun-Times. "They are interviewing people in the community, but they do that to calm people down. People want to have their input. But for the most part, they turn that matter over to the alderman."
Those words contradict the mayor's take on the situation, according to the Chicago Tribune. Emanuel said a website will be live on Wednesday allowing individuals to apply to fill the post. From there, a four-member committee representing the South Shore-area ward will interview candidates and offer their recommendations to the mayor, who will then make the pick.
The mayor said he aims to make his pick by mid-February, well ahead of his 60-day deadline.
Jackson's Chief of Staff Keiana Barrett has been leading operations at the 7th Ward office in the wake of her boss's resignation, ABC Chicago reported. Though the Sun-Times reports that Jackson has practically already named Barrett her successor, she does not live in the ward -- and would need to resolve that matter were she to be appointed to the City Council.
"After much consideration and while dealing with very painful family health matters, I have met with my family and determined that the constituents of the 7th Ward, as well as you Mr. Mayor, and my colleagues in the City Council deserve a partner who can commit all of their energies to the business of the people," the letter read.
The news came after months of speculation related to Jackson missing a number of City Council and committee meetings, including the important vote on Emanuel's 2013 budget proposal. The announcement also came a month to the day after Jackson vehemently denied she'd be resigning from her aldermanic post, to which she was elected in 2007, CBS Chicago points out. (See video below.)
"I’m not resigning," Jackson said in December. "I am here, I am working, I’m going to continue to work, and whoever these people are who purport to speak for me should stop! I’m asking them please to stop."
Jackson's husband, Jesse Jackson Jr., also resigned abruptly last fall from Congress on the heels of an easy re-election despite not campaigning amid his being on medical leave since June. The congressman had sought treatment for bipolar disorder and is the subject of an ongoing federal investigation into his campaign spending -- a probe that was said to have expanded to include Sandi.
The special election to choose Jesse's successor in Congress will be held on March 19 following a primary on Feb. 26. Twenty-two candidates -- including five Republicans -- filed to run for the seat earlier this month.
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