According to a recent Freedom of Information Act request granted to Chicago Tribute reporter Gregory Pratt, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is a nightmare to work for. In one of the newly released emails, Lightfoot wrote a six-paragraph email to scheduler Taylor Lewis about needing unconstructed time to herself during the workday, which she referred to as office time.
In the email, Lightfoot pouts that her “prior requests” have been routinely ignored and resorts to writing the same sentence 16 times in a row, “I need office time every day!” The email carried the Erie tones of “The Shining,” where Jack Nicholson’s deranged character repeatedly writes the same sentence.
In the third paragraph, the mayor wrote “Not just once a week or some days, every day!” 10 times in a row. She wrote “breaks or transition times between meetings are not office time” seven times and repeated five times in the fifth paragraph that “If this doesn’t change immediately, I will just start unilaterally canceling things every day.”
Lightfoot wrote 13 times in the final paragraph: “Have I made myself clear, finally?!” Since then, Lewis has left her job with the mayor’s office.
Mayor Lightfoot even defended the emails in a recent press conference, saying that she and her staff are in a “better place” and that her comments were “born out of frustration.” She didn’t apologize for any of the emails and it is unclear if she privately apologized to the staffer.
“We got beyond that and solved the challenges that were at the heart of that email which was written five-plus months ago so I think we’re in a better place,” Lightfoot tried to justify.
But over the last few weeks, dozens of the mayor’s employees have resigned or said they have plans to quit. Democratic Ward Committeeman Walter Burnett Jr said he’s been in office for 26 years and has never seen this level of mayoral staff turnover.
There were also emails where Lightfoot sent staff members a photo of ripped-up documents. She wrote that she had a “new practice” for memos sent at the last minute and warned aide Lewis that she wants decision memos no later than 48 hours before a decision is needed. “I have asked nicely, now I am done,” she wrote, attaching a picture of a ripped-up memo.
Lightfoot also ignited controversy last month after revealing that she was taking up a policy of only granting interviews to Black or Brown reporters.
It’s a wonder how someone like Lightfoot got elected into office, but that’s what happens when you vote based on race, gender, and political party. It’s a shock that Lightfoot would need so much “office time” when her own city has devolved into a crime-infested cesspool of weekly shootings and riots. This is what happens when you let politicians set the rules.