Why are Chicago City Council Committee meetings still virtual?

Chicago City Hall

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A frequent critic of Mayor Lightfoot is continuing to question why Chicago City Council Committee meetings have not "opened up" the way the full Council meeting have since coronavirus restrictions lifted.

The Chicago City Council holds its third in-person meeting this week for most members since the COVID-19 shutdown forced the meeting to go virtual. State lawmakers met this spring in their chambers; so, WBBM Newsradio asked 9th Ward Alderman Anthony Beale, a frequent critic of the Lightfoot Administration, why the City Council Committee meetings are still being held virtually.

"Well, that's a very good question. I posed that question the last two City Council meetings at the end of each meeting wondering why we are not fully back in person, and I was told by the Administration it is up to the committee chairs," Alderman Beale said.

But, Beale is skeptical. He contended it’s easier for the chairs to control who speaks and gets to ask questions at a virtual meeting.

"We are open enough for everything. The federal government is meeting in person. The state is meeting in person. I just believe we are still hiding behind this whole Zoom issue where you can skirt the rules, manipulate the procedures that we have in place, and I think we need to go ahead and open up and be done with it," Beale said.

He wants to see face-to-face meetings return as the norm.

There have been some testy moments in recent meetings around who was or wasn’t recognized during proceedings.