Brandon Johnson issues 4 executive orders on 1st day in office
Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson is starting his administration with four executive orders, expanding youth employment and adding three new deputy mayors for immigration, labor and community safety.
New Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson signed his first four executive orders expanding youth employment and creating deputy mayors focused on immigration rights, community safety and labor relations.
Johnson put those issues at the top of his list, but there’s another that drives most of the city’s problems: Chicago has more pension debt than 44 states. He’s offered no plan for that, other than to raise taxes.
Boosting youth employment
Johnson’s first executive order called on the city’s Office of Budget and Management to analyze the fiscal year 2023 budget to identify funds that can be channeled towards youth employment and enrichment programs.
It also tasks the deputy mayor of education and health and human services to identify potential entry-level jobs most suitable for young Chicagoans. Johnson named former Chicago Teachers Union chief of staff Jennifer Johnson to fill the role.
Johnson’s focus on finding government jobs for teens ignores the greatest potential source: the private sector. Focusing on improving the city’s business environment would give him the teen jobs he wants, while pursuing his $800 million in new taxes would not.
Establish a deputy mayor for immigrant, migrant and refugee rights
Johnson’s second executive order focuses not on residents but refugees, establishing a new deputy mayor for immigrant, migrant, and refugee rights.
Chicago has had a recent influx of more than 8,000 migrants, some being housed in police stations because shelters are full.
Establish a deputy mayor for community safety
Johnson’s third order creates the position of Deputy Mayor for Community Safety. Chicago’s four deadliest years since 2000 were 2016, 2020, 2021 and 2022.
Johnson appointed Fred Waller as interim Chicago Police superintendent. Unlike 53 candidates considered for the job, Waller never applied for it.
Establish a deputy mayor for labor relations
Lastly, Johnson’s fourth executive order establishes a deputy mayor for labor relations. He states the city has an “obligation to advance workplace equity and to protect and expand the right to organize for all Chicagoans.”
Johnson is a former lobbyist and organizer for the Chicago Teachers Union and helped to organize citywide teacher strikes in 2012, 2019 and an illegal walkout in 2022. CTU’s money and foot soldiers put him in the mayor’s office, Illinois just enshrined labor power in the state constitution, yet Johnson sees a need for the city to actively advance labor’s cause.
Johnson’s first decisions in office could be signals to what are, or aren’t, his top priorities as mayor. City pensions, population loss and businesses leaving should top the list, along with crime.