Aide to former Ald. Ed Smith appointed to finish the rest of his term

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Mayor Richard Daley appointed 28th Ward aldermanic candidate Jason Ervin to finish out the remainder of former Ald. Ed Smith’s term.

Ervin, who’s been village manager of Maywood for three years, will assume the 28th Ward seat on the Chicago City Council at least until mid-May – or longer, if he prevails in the Feb. 22 election or the April 5 run-off.

Smith, who had served on the council since 1983, endorsed Erwin for the election shortly after he resigned from his seat Nov. 30. The 36-year-old Erwin had served as a volunteer aide to the former alderman for 14 years.

“(Ervin) came to me 14 years ago … I took him in, and I saw how bright he was,” Smith told AustinTalks in November. “He’s become a superb adviser, and he’s done it all as a volunteer.”

Ervin’s campaign staff did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment but Thursday afternoon issued a statement that included,  “I will empower and energize all of our residents.  We can improve our schools, protect our residents, provide economic opportunities and maximize public services to all of our neighborhoods.  Let us move the 28th Ward to the next level.”

News reports Wednesday quoted Daley as saying he was not endorsing Ervin, or two additional appointments named at the afternoon press conference, for the election. “They will present themselves to all the people of their respective wards,” the Chicago Tribune quoted Daley.

Daley tends to take an alderman’s recommendation in making such appointments, former alderman and Chicago political expert Dick Simpson has said, and entering the race as a sitting alderman gives Ervin an important advantage.

“They can now say they’re ‘Alderman Jones,’” Simpson said. “That makes it a better starting for a campaign.”

Six candidates applied for the temporary 28th Ward alderman spot: Kathy Adams, Carmelita P. Earls, Jason C. Ervin, Carol G. Johnson, William Siegmund and Michael A. (Mike) Stinson.

Of those, Ervin will face competitors Earls, Siegmund and Stinson on the Feb. 22 ballot for a full four-year term. Adams did not seek a spot on the full-term ballot, and Johnson was removed during the objections process.

Siegmund, 43, said he was unsurprised by the appointment. He said he had one 10-minute interview with Daley in the mayor’s office, during which he was asked questions about his qualifications and plans for the ward.

“It is what it is,” Siegmund said.

A representative of the mayor’s press office declined to answer questions about the appointment Wednesday evening. The mayor’s press office has ignored AustinTalks’ repeated requests for information about the interview process and failed to notify the West Side news site about Wednesday’s press conference.

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