Last month, City Hall posted an ad on the Internet seeking applicants to fill aldermanic vacancies in two city wards.
Mayor Daley will choose from this pool of applicants to replace former Ald. Manny Flores (1st), who resigned to become chairman of the Illinois Commerce Commission, and disgraced former Ald. Isaac Carothers (29th), who recently pleaded guilty to accepting $40,000 in home improvements, meals and sports tickets from a developer in exchange for zoning changes.
Obviously, the public has a clear interest in knowing who is applying for these important jobs.
But the Daley administration has denied freedom of information requests to release the names of the would-be aldermen, saying it would be an invasion of their privacy. Daley also suggested Thursday that some of the applicants could lose their jobs if their employers found out they were applying, according to ABC 7.
This argument would make sense if these were private citizens applying for private sector jobs. But that isn't the case.
When you volunteer to be considered for public office, you should expect public scrutiny.
It's time for the Daley administration to release the names.
UPDATE: The attorney general's office notified the city's law department late this afternoon that it can't use the personal privacy exemption to withhold the names of applicants for alderman. The reason? "The public interest in this matter outweighs individual privacy interests," law department Jennifer Hoyle said in an e-mail. I couldn't agree more.