Shakeup moves Beale off of Police Committee
By Fran Spielman City Hall Reporter January 13, 2011 6:24PM
Updated: September 24, 2012 6:25AM
Far South Side Ald. Anthony Beale (9th) has infuriated rank-and-file police officers by targeting their supplemental pay and proposing more power for “rent-a-cops.” He’s also been a driving force behind an impending plan to reallocate police resources to higher-crime districts.
On Thursday, Beale lost the perch he has used to push for Police Department reforms in a City Council reorganization that gave him even more power.
Under a plan crafted by Mayor Daley and unanimously approved by the City Council, Beale will become the new chairman of the City Council’s Transportation Committee, replacing former Ald. Tom Allen (38th), who resigned to become a Circuit Court judge.
The Transportation Committee has an annual budget of $473,054, more than triple the $131,789-a-year budget for the Police Committee.
The new Police Committee chairman is Ald. Michelle Harris (8th). She’s the former ward superintendent and secretary to the Cook County Board of Commissioners who was appointed by the mayor in 2006 to replace Todd Stroger as alderman.
Harris is now a political powerhouse in her own right, having replaced Stroger as 8th Ward Democratic committeeman.
The Health Committee chairmanship created by the retirement of Ald. Ed Smith (28th) will be filled by Ald. Jim Balcer (11th), who represents Daley’s boyhood home of Bridgeport.
Fraternal Order of Police President Mark Donahue welcomed Beale’s promotion. Last spring, Donahue told the Chicago Sun-Times that he would be “hardpressed to identify a poorer choice” as Police Committee chairman.
Beale angered officers by targeting duty-availability pay, a supplemental, $2,800-a-year lump sum that essentially compensates officers for being on call. He has also criticized the roughly $1,800-a-year uniform allowance officers receive. And he infuriated the rank-and-file by proposing that private security guards patrolling three Far South Side commercial strips be empowered to write tickets — for everything from parking and moving violations to loitering, littering and graffiti.