BUCKTOWN — Mayor Rahm Emanuel backhanded away criticism that he's a micromanager by emphasizing his own sense of humor Tuesday.
Asked about a recent interview with former schools chief Jean-Claude Brizard that criticized him, saying he needs to "let go" and allow "his managers lead," Emanuel focused instead on another part of the article. He liked the part when Brizard noted: "My best meeting with him was off stage, away from the lights at a private table in a steakhouse. He was thoughtful, funny, and caring."
Said Emanuel Tuesday: "I kind of appreciated the appreciation of my sense of humor."
Emanuel went on to say, "Look, I appreciate JC. I appreciate what he did, and I appreciate his commitment."
He added, "We should take stock," and credited Brizard with introducing the full school day and full school year to Chicago Public Schools a year ago. He also suggested he laid the groundwork for the citywide full-day kindergarten beginning this school year.
Emanuel named Brizard CPS chief executive officer in 2011 shortly after taking office himself, but then removed Brizard just over a year later following last fall's teacher strike. Brizard received a healthy severance package and went on to a position with the College Board.
Emanuel showed himself eager to move on Tuesday during a news conference at the Bucktown-Wicker Park Library, saying, "I appreciate his time here, I appreciate his leadership, but I'm looking forward to the rest of the school year and the future."