Does Rahm Emanuel, newly-elected governor of Chicago, finally get it? The Chicago Tribune reports:
Mayor Rahm Emanuel is sending pink slips to up to 625 city employees Monday and privatizing many of their jobs to finish closing a $30 million budget hole, but union leaders said the mayor jumped the gun and never gave them time to negotiate.
Nearly 130 seasonal transportation workers will be told to leave immediately. That means fewer sidewalks, curbs and gutters will be repaired.
Emanuel said he intends to get private companies to clean the city's airports and libraries, work now done by city employees. Operators at the city's water-bill call center and employee benefit managers also will see their jobs outsourced. Those union workers will receive 30- and 45-day layoff notices.
And not only that, but the Chicago Sun Times reported today that:
Determined to deliver suburban-style curbside recycling to 359,000 Chicago households without it, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said Monday he would privatize four of six service areas and allow city employees to compete in the other two.
Within four months of the so-called "managed competition," blue-cart recycling will come to 20,000 additional households who live in Wicker Park, Bucktown and Logan Square. Even more homeowners will get the service next year.
Strong-arming unions, laying off public employees in favor of private corporations, closing budget gaps without raising taxes, "managed competition"? Since when has Rahm Emanuel, once President Obama's Chief of Staff, been a conservative?
Mayor Emanuel inherited a disastrous financial situation, as Chicago faces budget deficits over $1 billion per year. Could it be that Rahm Emanuel has finally seen the light? Perhaps he could teach his friends in Washington a thing or two, especially as Congress faces a similar battle over spending cuts and balanced budgets.