Marty Casey, 47th Ward Streets and Sanitation Superintendent for former Ald. Eugene Schulter has moved to the 43rd Ward. To replace him, Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th) has selected long-time 47th Ward resident and Schulter precinct captain, Eric Norton.
Probably the most important hire for a Chicago alderman, the Ward Superintendent is responsible for a small crew of Sanitation Department workers who act as the ward’s first line of defense against trees, garbage can replacement, snow removal, sewer clearing and a host of dirty jobs that keep streets clear and functioning. If not carried out efficiently, the ward superintendent’s lack of effectiveness is usually blamed on the alderman.
Pawar, bucking the usual Chicago trend of selecting a close affiliate, posted an open application for the position soon after he was elected.
“What we wanted was someone who understood how Streets and Sanitation works, how snow removal and those types of things worked,” said Pawar.
Norton, currently a seasonal snow removal worker for the Illinois Department of Transportation, has also worked as a laborer for the Illinois Secretary of State and the Cook County Forest Preserve, according to Pawar.
It did not matter to Pawar that Norton was a Schulter political worker.
“He’s been a member of Ald. Schulter’s org and before that, Ed Kelly’s,” said Pawar. “He applied, but he was obviously working for the other side.”
Although the local alderman nominates the ward superintendent, the position is actually controlled by the Sanitation Commissioner and the Mayor’s office. Applicants must also undergo a physical fitness test before appointment.
According to Pawar, the Sanitation Commissioner is currently not filling any ward superintendent positions, as the department is under a hiring freeze. It is not clear when funds will be released so Norton can be hired.