Politics

Mayor Lori Lightfoot reportedly ‘berated’ staffers over “office time” in emails obtained by the Chicago Tribune

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s emails have been obtained by the Chicago Tribune via a Freedom of Information Act request, showing how a rather angry Lightfoot treats her staffers.

In one email Lightfoot slams her then scheduler demanding more “office time.” Lightfoot continued the email by writing “I need office time every day!” 16 times in a row. Lightfoot repeats each phrase of the email at least five times. The next part of the email sees her demand office time be scheduled “not just once a week or some days, everyday!” 10 times in a row. She goes on to say that “Breaks or transition times between meetings are not office time” seven times in a row. Then Lightfoot states that “if this doesn’t change immediately, I will just start unilaterally cancelling things every day” five times in a row. She finishes off the email by asking the staffer “Have I made myself clear, finally ?!” 13 times in a row.

The Chicago Tribune was able to review Lightfoot’s official time calendars to figure out that Lightfoot sent the “office time” email while she was scheduled to be in office time. The Mayor also had a further two-hour chunk of office time scheduled for later that evening. As of June, the female staffer who received the email no longer works for Lightfoot. In a press conference on Tuesday the Mayor responded by claiming the email was written after “a lot of conversation” and was “borne of frustration,” adding that “we got beyond that and solved the challenges which were at the heart of that email, which was written some five months ago…. I think we’re in a better place,” referring to her relationship with staff.

Last month it was reported that Lightfoot sent her aides a photo of a ripped up document with the accompanying text: “As I noted, I want decisions memos no later than 48 hours before the decision is needed and I have directed {staff} to reject all efforts to bring things to me directly that skirt these rules…. I have asked nicely, now I am done.” Lightfoots office is known for its high staff turnover, with at least a dozen top staffers having left since late last year. City Alderman Walter Burnett said that the turnover rate is “somewhat unusual. I haven’t seen it like this.” Another Alderman, Brian Hopkins added that “You set yourself up for failure as an administration if you can’t attract and retain top people.”

ARTICLE: NATHAN REID
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: CHICAGO TRIBUNE

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