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Runoff Run-down

By Allison Riggio and Hunter Clauss

Four of 12 alderman facing challengers in the April 17 runoff employ family members or their significant others on their publicly funded staffs. Here’s what the incumbents and their challengers say about this hiring practice.

2nd Ward

Incumbent: Madeline Haithcock, employs her husband, Gordon, and daughter Tanya.

“Oh everybody does. That’s just something that people always have done.”

Challenger: Bob Fioretti, an attorney, faces Haithcock.

“I think as a rule of thumb you shouldn’t be hiring your family members for your own personal staff … It’s not good politics.”

3rd Ward

Incumbent: Dorothy Tillman, employs her daughter, Ebony.

Declined to comment.

Challenger: Pat Dowell, facing Tillman for the second time after losing to the incumbent in 2003.

“I just think that it’s inappropriate. It’s just doesn’t feel right.”

35th Ward

Incumbent: Rey Colon, employs his fiancé, Martha Ramos.

“Of all the jobs I’ve had, this is the first where I had to have a staff that were as close as family.”

Challenger: Vilma Colom, trying to reclaim the seat she held from 1995 to 2003.

“If they work for the city, I don’t have a problem with that. But to work in the alderman’s office … [that] just doesn’t sit well with people.”

50th Ward

Incumbent: Bernard Stone, employs his daughter Ilana Feketitsch.

“The question is ability, not who she is. I judge her on her ability not on her relationship.”

Challenger: Naisy Dolar faces Stone in the runoff potentially becoming Chicago’s first Asian-American alderman.

“I believe we should look at ethical codes in city departments and adhere and expand those restrictions.”

Photos provided by The Columbia Chronicle and the candidates.
Jonathan Binder and Jessica Pearce contributed to this investigation.
To contact the primary reporters, send an e-mail to or, or call (312)

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