The First 100: How Is Rahm Emanuel Doing On The Economy?

Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel marks his first 100 days in office this week. Tonight, he’ll be taking

part in The First 100, a forum put on by our partner station WBEZ. Changing Gears will be there and we’ll be paying close attention to what he says about the city’s economy.

But there’s already a report card on his performance — based on the goals Emanuel set out in February — and the results are mixed.



Using Emanuel’s transition report, WBEZ’s staff analyzed the steps he’s taken on government, communities, growth and children. Here’s how he’s done on the steps that affect Chicago’s economy.

1) Cutting spending. In his first action as mayor, Emanuel signed an executive order cutting $75 million in city spending, a key promise of his campaign.

2) Performance benchmarks. As he vowed to do, the mayor has set out benchmarks for city services like garbage collection, construction, maintenance, repairs and and infrastructure services. Many are posted on a city Web site. But he has not posted performance benchmarks for refuse service, WBEZ said.

3) Target industries. The mayor promised to identify targeted industries that will be supported for development, which he has done. They include technology, tourism, manufacturing, financial services and advanced materials. Emanuel has been appearing with companies like JP Morgan Chase that announce investments in the city.

4) Pilot communities. The mayor promised to pick out communities within the city for special economic development attention. But WBEZ said there was “no evidence” that he has done so, apart from two weekend working sessions with the University of Chicago and Loyola University.

Read the entire report card and tell us whether you’re satisfied with the way Emanuel is doing his job. Is he a model for other mayors around our regioni?

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