Working for the Mayor

Man on Five

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You had a direct relationship. There was no in-between. Several of the subsequent mayors have had layers of administration. With Daley, it was direct, one on one.

Jerome Butler, City Architect, interview excerpt, July 8, 2002

City Treasurer Joseph Bertrand, Mayor Richard J. Daley, and City Clerk John Marcin after election victory. Photo: László Kondor. MSLASZ13_0001_0013_001

City Treasurer Joseph Bertrand, Mayor Richard J. Daley, and City Clerk John Marcin after election victory. Photo: László Kondor. MSLASZ13_0001_0013_001

2 of 7

Richard J. Daley, Alderman Michael Bilandic, and Architect for the City of Chicago, Jerome Butler. Photo: László Kondor. MSLASZ13_0003_0002_007

Richard J. Daley, Alderman Michael Bilandic, and Architect for the City of Chicago, Jerome Butler. Photo: László Kondor. MSLASZ13_0003_0002_007

 

I just think that Daley went in and, to many people’s surprise, he appointed young, professorial type people to key positions. And he relied on them….They weren’t all, ‘Yes men.’ They were people who were unique in their fields and in their professions.

Richard Elrod, Chief Prosecutor for City of Chicago, interview excerpt, April 10, 2009

 

 

That’s not a field you’re going into to get rich. He was able to convince some people, who obviously became financially more successful in many cases, to make some sacrifices and work for this cause….There was this unique, charismatic leadership about him that just drew people to him and made them want to win with him.

Peter Thompson, grandson of Richard J. Daley, June 11, 2002

He always called me Joe when he was happy with me. He normally called me Commissioner, and if he was really mad at me he’d call me Mr. Fitzgerald.

Joseph Fitzgerald, Chicago Building Commissioner, interview excerpt, July 24, 2014

 

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So he’d keep pounding away at whatever the problems were and trying to bring in new ideas. He was susceptible to new ideas, if they were good ideas, no matter who gave them to him, even if it was the guy who was the starter to the elevators down on the main floor of the hall, or one of his cabinet people, or if it was a social acquaintance of his. He really was open. He also had a kind of common touch.

Ray Simon, Corporation Counsel City of Chicago 1965-1969, interview excerpt, June 30, 2010

Richard J. Daley in elevator on way to work.

Richard J. Daley in elevator on way to work. RJD_04_01_0022_0004_003

Daley wanted to make every decision, from who put the light on and who flushed the toilet. He wanted to make every decision. But the nice thing about Daley was that he had a cadre of people around him and he would take advice.

Dan Rostenkowski, Congressman, interview excerpt, July 1, 2004

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Critics mock the mispronunciation or tangled syntax of the mayor’s public speaking, but none of that criticism is from anyone who ever participated in a one-on-one or a small group meeting with him. Up close and personal he was a powerhouse.

Richard L. Curry, Corporation Counsel City of Chicago 1970-1974, interview excerpt, November 10, 2014

Mayor Richard J. Daley speaking, undated. RJD_04_01_0041_0002_024

Mayor Richard J. Daley speaking, undated. RJD_04_01_0041_0002_024

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Mary Junquera was his secretary for many years. She said that every single night when he left the office, he came to her desk and thanked her for her work that day. He said, “With the help of God, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

Patricia Daley-Martino, daughter of Richard J. Daley, interview excerpt, June 12, 2002

Richard J. Daley at secretaries’ luncheon

Richard J. Daley at secretaries’ luncheon with “The Dependables,” 1963. Photo: Mart Studios. RJD_04_01_0022_0013_003

 

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How a staff photographer shot the mayor’s official portrait. Click on the second image to play audio.

Official portrait of Mayor Richard J. Daley.

Official portrait of Mayor Richard J. Daley. Photo: László Kondor. MSLASZ13_0002_0010_034

Audio: László Kondor, Daley’s official photographer 1972-1976, interview excerpt, November 6, 2013