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City Clerk Mendoza to take oath as state comptroller today

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Democratic Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza is set to be sworn in as Illinois comptroller on Monday, taking the office that controls the state’s checkbook away from a Republican appointed by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

Mendoza will take the oath at 10 a.m. in the Capitol rotunda in a ceremony officiated by Illinois Supreme Court Justice Anne Burke. The event marks Mendoza’s return to Springfield, where she previously served as a lawmaker in the House from 2001 to 2011.

In last month’s election, Mendoza defeated Republican Comptroller Leslie Munger, who Rauner appointed to the post following the December 2014 death of Judy Baar Topinka.

The race morphed into a proxy battle between Rauner and Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan, with Mendoza labeling Munger the governor’s “lap dog” while Munger accused Mendoza of being beholden to the longtime speaker.

Indeed, the fight continued last week after a group of House Democrats sued Munger in an effort to get paid quicker after she delayed their paychecks amid the state’s historic budget impasse.

Munger called the timing of the suit “cowardly,” saying the move from lawmakers comes as “one of their own” is set to take over.

“It is my sincere hope that although Comptroller-elect Susana Mendoza has spent a decade in the General Assembly herself, she will live up to her campaign promise, do the right thing and vigorously defend the right of the state comptroller to fund critical services for the state and not to give preferential treatment to politicians,” Munger added.

Mendoza on Friday indicated she would maintain Munger’s policy — unless the lawmakers won their court case.

“I was very clear on the issue of withholding legislators’ pay during my campaign: Everyone needs to share in the sacrifice,” Mendoza said in a written statement. “My policy will be to prioritize the most vulnerable people in our state and continue the delay in legislators’ pay, unless a court instructs me to do otherwise.”

Mayor Rahm Emanuel gets to name Mendoza’s replacement to finish her term as clerk, which ends in 2019. The seat has been held by a Latino since 2006, and the mayor has strongly hinted he will name another. 

Several Latino aldermen have thrown their hats in the ring to become clerk. Emanuel also is said to be considering Park District Board Chairman Jesse Ruiz; Maria Guerra Lapacek, former deputy in the mayor’s Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and current commissioner for the city Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection; and Anna Valencia, the current director of intergovernmental affairs.

On one hand, it may be easier for Emanuel to pick someone other than an alderman so he can avoid angering other City Council members who would get passed over. But if he does select an alderman, he then gets to fill an empty council seat and perhaps reward another alderman with a committee chairmanship.

Sources said the mayor has yet to make his final pick, but he is not expected to let the paint dry too long now that Mendoza has left the office.

As for Munger’s political future, she resorted to a common deflection, saying she planned to spend more time with family.

“We just finished an election, a very long, many months, and right now I am looking forward to spending some time with my family and enjoying the holidays,” Munger said on Friday. “And I’m sure I’ll find some way to serve the state going forward. But I’m looking for a little bit of a break right now. It’s been a crazy couple of years.” (Monique Garcia, Hal Dardick, John Byrne)

 

What’s on tap

*Mayor Emanuel’s public schedule was not available.

*Gov. Rauner is scheduled to addres the Illinois Farm Bureau annual meeting at a downtown Chicago hotel. Per the governor’s office, he’ll call on Democratic lawmakers to end their paycheck lawsuit. He’s scheduled to tak reporters’ questions. After that, Rauner will appear at a gold star families Christmas tree lighting at the Thompson Center.

*Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas is set to speak to the City Club of Chicago at noon.

*A City Council committee will hear an Emanuel-sponsored resolution reaffirming Chicago as a sanctuary city.

*A court decision today could help decide the future of food trucks in Chicago.

 

What we’re writing

*Republicans accuse Madigan, Democrats of stalling on budget (Sunday budget talks story).

*Madigan cites "lack of trust" with Rauner in budget talks (Saturday meeting story).

*Rauner, Madigan huddle up in search of budget deal big or small (weekend budget talks preview story).

*Emanuel: Rauner "bailed out" power companies, bailed on CPS students.

*State lawmakers sue Comptroller Munger to try to get paid on time.

*Emanuel announces an immigrant legal fund using leftover property tax rebate money.

*Cook County judge who let clerk hear cases is deemed "mentally unable" to do job.

*Local taxpayers picking up a greater share of school district funding.

 

What we’re reading

*Jobs report shows Donal Trump to inherit solid but uneven economy.

*Former public defender who kept client’s murder confession secret while another man served time dies.

*Chicago football team wins third game of season, will get worse draft pick as result.

 

From the notebook

*Madigan’s attention to detail: A lot has been written about Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan over the decades (he was first elected to his House seat in 1970), but on Sunday it emerged that he takes detailed notes during meetings.

Madigan, the other legislative leaders and Gov. Rauner met at the Thompson Center this weekend to try to hash out a short-term or long-term budget deal.

Madigan, however, said the budget was not discussed Saturday. Following Sunday’s nearly 90-minute meeting, Madigan turned to handwritten notes for a tally. The budget, he told reporters, was discussed for 14 minutes — “from 10:16 (a.m.) to 10:20 (a.m.) and from 11:15 (a.m.) to 11:25 (a.m.).” The remainder dealt with Rauner’s push to consolidate and eliminate some of the mandates faced by local governments, the speaker said.

Asked what was specifically discussed about the budget, Madigan replied, “Obviously not too much over 14 minutes.”

Republicans countered by saying Madigan and state Rep. Greg Harris were offered time to speak about the budget but were “unprepared.”

*The Sunday Spin: On this week’s show, Chicago Tribune political reporter Rick Pearson’s guests were former Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy talking about the city’s murder rate; Elliot Richardson, founder of the Small Business Advocacy Council; and David Merriman, public finance expert at the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois. Listen to the full show here.
 

Follow the money 

*One day after her successor was sworn into office, former Cook County State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez reported receiving a $1,000 contribution.

*Track Illinois campaign contributions in real time here and here

 

Beyond Chicago

*Trump threatens 35 percent tariff on companies that move jobs overseas, expands list of secretary of state candidates.

*Trump taking Taiwan phone call rattles a region.

*Death toll in makeshift Oakland nightclub collapse at 30 and rising.

*Fidel Castro laid to rest in private ceremony in east Cuba.

 
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