CITY HALL — The mayor has tapped an old hand and longtime political ally to serve as his chief of staff to start his second term in office.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Friday morning that Chicago Transit Authority President Forrest Claypool would return to City Hall to help set Emanuel's second-term agenda.
Claypool is a high-profile replacement for Lisa Schrader, who served largely behind the scenes as Emanuel's chief of staff for the last two years.
Claypool served two terms as chief of staff to Emanuel's predecessor, Mayor Richard M. Daley, and headed the Chicago Park District in the 1990s.
He served on the Cook County Board in the 2000s and ran unsuccessfully against county Assessor Joe Berrios in 2010 before being tabbed to head the CTA by Emanuel four years ago.
Emanuel touted his success in that role in naming him chief of staff.
"I've known Forrest Claypool for 35 years. He has an unparalleled record of reform, accountability and leadership in city and county government," Emanuel said. "That's why one of the first calls I made during my transition in 2011 was to Forrest to ask him to lead the CTA. He is a world-class manager, and under him the CTA has never been run better."
Emanuel also pointed to Claypool's stewardship at the CTA with the rehab of the Red Line's south branch.
"We did four years of work in just five months, and it is the longest stretch of track that has ever been shut down and rebuilt from the dirt up at one time. That accomplishment shows a rare ability which Forrest has to be laser-focused on the six inches ahead of him, while still having the strategic vision to look miles down the road. That vision and focus is what I need as we prepare to tackle the biggest fiscal crisis in Chicago history."
Emanuel will now have to name a replacement for Claypool at the CTA in the coming weeks.
After winning re-election in the city's first mayoral runoff, Emanuel will be inaugurated for a second term May 18.
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