What Should We Expect of an Alderman?

The job of alderman is perhaps best understood as that of operations manager for one-fiftieth of the City of Chicago. Some of the most important responsibilities include:

  •  tending to the needs of residents, making city processes easier to understand and navigate and helping constituents who get stuck in the system
  • serving as the conduit between commercial interests and residents, mediating disputes between the interests of residents and the desires of the business community
  • establishing a close working relationship with the Chamber of Commerce to ensure that business districts become and remain financially healthy
  • developing an economic plan with the active, ongoing input of both residents and businesses that provides a framework for business development that is respectful to the entire community
  • working with community groups to support local initiatives for community improvement and empowerment
  • serving as the ward’s representative to the City Council, assisting in shaping citywide legislation that affects ward residents as well as introducing legislation that affects all City residents
  • overseeing city employees responsible for maintenance of basic city services (i.e., street cleaning, fixing and replacing street lights, etc.)

Among the skills required of an alderman:

  • Leadership
  • Initiative
  • Conflict resolution
  • Consensus building
  • Management skills, including planning, delegating, and effective follow-up
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Generosity of spirit, a willingness to step aside and let others shine
  • Honesty, integrity, truthfulness

I kept the above in mind as I reviewed the Web sites and campaign literature of the four challengers and the alderman.

Let’s look at the two write-in candidates first.

2 thoughts on “What Should We Expect of an Alderman?

  1. We should talk. West Ridge resident and owner of a four unit apt building on farwell near ridge. What are you thought regarding the jet noise since Oct 2013? Residents here are pissed off.


    • Thanks for your comment. Yes, we should talk. The noise from these planes is overwhelming, and my TV loses both sound and picture. My cell phone often doesn’t work either. This airplane noise is a serious issue. When I looked at the contributions to Silverstein, I saw that the airlines have donated money to her campaign fund. There have been several discussions about plane noise on Everyblock.com, and neither she nor anyone from her office has responded. Check out the state Board of Elections Web site for a real eye-opener about where her money comes from.


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