Group of alderpersons seek to censure Gardiner
by BRIAN NADIG
A group of eight alderpersons have signed onto a proposed resolution calling on the City Council Rules Committee to hold a public hearing on the reported misconduct of Alderman James Gardiner (45th) and to consider whether he should be censured for any alleged retaliation against political opponents.
"Alderman Gardiner’s behavior does not have a home in our government, and his words and actions do not represent the values and vision of our city," the resolution states.
The proposed resolution also adds that Gardiner reportedly verbally harassed constituents and may have retaliated against constituents for political purposes. It notes a recent report by the Chicago Tribune that the FBI is investigating his conduct.
Gardiner has issued the following statement: "I want to make it clear that I have never acted on those rants; however, they should not have been expressed, and it certainly was not my intention to demean anyone."
At the meeting, Gardiner said that "Today I do not speak to you as a politician. I speak to you as a human being, a human being who has sinned."
Under council rules, Gardiner can be censured for disgraceful conduct by a majority vote or expelled by a two-thirds vote, according to the proposed resolution. The proposal specifically asks for "consideration of a censure," but the proposal includes the voting requirements for both a censure and an expulsion.
Its sponsors are Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez (33rd), Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th), Maria Hadden (49th), Matt Martin (47th), Carlos Rosa-Ramirez (35th), Michael Rodriguez (22nd), Andre Vasquez (40th) and Daniel La Spata (1st).
The resolution was introduced at the council’s Sept. 14 meeting.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, ward resident and frequent Gardiner critic Pete Czosnyka told the council that he has "been falsely targeted by Gardiner for 2 years" and that the city Inspector General office interviewed him about the matter in January. He added that council members should demand that Gardiner resign.
In 2019, Czosnyka received a citation for weeds on his property but it was later dismissed after a hearing officer determined that there was no violation since they were actually native plants, not weeds. Allegations have surfaced that the issuance of any citation in the case was politically motivated.
Czosnyka also is a plaintiff in a lawsuit in which he and other residents claims that their First Amendment rights were violated because they were not allowed to comment on Gardiner’s official aldermanic Facebook page.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot has called for the IG to conduct a thorough investigation into Gardiner’s conduct.
Czosnyka said that he knows of others who have been approached from the IG regarding the alderman’s conduct.