BACK OF THE YARDS — The mayor said Tuesday that Deborah Mell's name didn't entitle her to replace her father in the City Council, but it didn't disqualify her, either.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel praised the Democratic state representative and daughter of retiring Ald. Richard Mell (33rd), but said he was committed to a process to find a replacement with a "level of reform and commitment to public service," just as he did in replacing Ald. Sandi Jackson (7th) with Natashia Holmes earlier this year.
The mayor has instituted an online application process for the open aldermanic seat in the 33rd Ward, and state Rep. Mell confirmed Monday she'd apply for the post. Others have until 5 p.m. Thursday to complete the application.
"State Rep. Deb Mell is not guaranteed the job because her last name is Mell," Emanuel said during a Tuesday news conference. "And state Rep. Deb Mell is not excluded from the job because her last name is Mell."
Emanuel said that Mell's sexual orientation — she would be the first openly lesbian alderman if chosen — wouldn't guarantee she got the job, nor would it exclude her.
"I'll have the standard, as I did with the 7th Ward, which is, 'Will the person bring a level of reform and commitment to public service and representing the entire ward?'" Emanuel said.
Emanuel, however, quickly went on to praise Mell's public service and cited how she was endorsed by both major downtown daily newspapers when she ran for the General Assembly in 2009.
"Nobody is guaranteed a job because of their last name," Emanuel emphasized. "Nobody is excluded."
Emanuel has said he intends to name a replacement before the regularly scheduled July 24 City Council meeting.