Chicago Mayor Lightfoot criticized for giving time off to top aides ahead of deadly July 4 weekend

More than 100 people were shot and at least 19 were killed over the holiday weekend.
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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Washington, D.C., January 23, 2020.
(Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot is being criticized by city aldermen for letting two of her top aides take time off work before the deadly July 4 weekend, after she had vowed there would be a whole-government approach for addressing the surge in shootings.

Both Lightfoot's chief of staff, Sybil Madison, and deputy mayor for public safety, John O’Malley, were out of the office in the days leading up to the Independence Day weekend.

More than 100 people were shot and at least 19 killed in Chicago over the July 4 weekend, the deadliest weekend for the city this year, FOX 32 Chicago reported.

Lightfoot "allowed her staff to go on vacation (just) days and the week before what is traditionally the most dangerous weekend in the city of Chicago – is outrageous. It shows there's a complete lack of commitment toward addressing the violence," Alderman Ray Lopez told FOX 32.

"We’ve heard about the ‘whole of government’ approach for weeks now," Lopez said to the Chicago Tribune. "But I guess that doesn’t apply to the people responsible for actually creating the policies."

On the Friday before the holiday, Lightfoot "complained that a six-hour long, special City Council meeting was a dangerous distraction from efforts to reduce street violence, saying she wanted everyone in every agency to focus on that," according to FOX 32.

"We were told the meeting we had last week was a waste of time, but your people are out of the office," Alderman Anthony Beale told the Tribune, as he criticized Lightfoot's "'poor leadership' in allowing her top deputies to be off 'when we need them the most,'" Fox News reported.

Over the holiday weekend, police officers worked 12-hour shifts.

As Lightfoot returned from a political fundraising trip to California on Friday, her office issued a statement in response to the criticism.

"Working in the mayor's office is a 24/7, 365 job, and members of the mayor's senior staff are constantly connected. Those responsible for on-the-ground operations continued to execute over the holiday weekend, and the Chief of Staff and Deputy Chief of Staff were fully engaged every day."