As Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel marks his first 30 days in office, it’s clear that his communications team is still getting its training on the job.
The latest example comes from a bill signing by Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn. The bill mandates a longer school day, and Emanuel wanted to showcase a student that had been particularly vocal about wanting
a longer school day. That student was 7-year-old Parker Rasmussen.
The problem is when it came time to sign the bill, it wasn’t Parker Rasmussen in the presence of the mayor and governor. It was Rei Kong, one of Parker’s classmates.
The head of Emanuel’s press team, Christine Mather, who’s raking in $162,492 a year in the position, “was the one who identified the student as Rasmussen for the Sun-Times and lobbied for a story about the exchange” involving Rasmussen, according to the Chicago Sun-Times
. The paper explained:
“On Thursday, Mather insisted that Emanuel ‘spoke to a table of children at South Loop Elementary about the longer school day, and it appears there was some confusion among his staff as to which child asked the question originally.’”
Emanuel’s press team, to its credit, set up a phone call between Rasmussen and the mayor. The child’s mother told the Sun-Times
that he probably enjoyed the call more than the bill signing.
This is the latest headline regarding Emanuel’s communications team. Another of Emanuel’s press secretaries, 25-year-old Tarrah Cooper (who earns $94,992 annually), was the target of some pointed words
from a veteran Chicago journalist last month.