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CTA president Dorval Carter speaks at a press conference following the City Council meeting on Dec. 14, 2022. Credit: Colin Boyle/Ecoglobalsociety

CHICAGO — A majority of alderpeople back a resolution that calls for CTA President Dorval Carter to resign or be fired — but on Wednesday it was kicked to a council committee where measures are often sent to die.

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There are 29 alderpeople who have signed on to the resolution, giving it enough early support to pass the City Council if brought to a vote. The measure is largely symbolic, but its chief sponsor, Ald. Andre Vasquez (40th), said it's effectively a “vote of no confidence” in Carter, who has struggled to recover the system's service and staffing levels since the pandemic.

The resolution had gained traction among alderpeople, but it is unclear how or if it will move forward.

Despite the support the resolution has received, Alds. Jason Ervin (28th) and Anthony Beale (9th) sent it to the City Council's Committee on Committees and Rules at Wednesday's council meeting. The rules committee is where measures are notoriously sent to stall.

Ervin has defended Carter's performance — particularly his work to secure federal funding for a long-promised extension of the Red Line father south.

“There are things that can be improved … Nonetheless, with those situations, you got to look at the funding and some other things and go from there,” Ervin said at Wednesday's council meeting. “I think President Carter is bringing the funding that we need to improve the Red Line, the Blue Line, the Green Line, and the Purple Line.”

Ald. Jason Ervin (28th) and Ald. Chris Taliaferro (29th) talk at a City Council meeting on March 20, 2024. Credit: Colin Boyle/Ecoglobalsociety

The resolution highlights more than a dozen reasons why the CTA is in need of change. It comes after Gov. JB Pritzker said the agency is due for an “evolution” of leadership.

Vasquez, working the backroom of the chambers Wednesday, has recruited to the cause more than a third of the council's Committee on Transportation and Public Way. Most key progressive allies and some opponents of Mayor Brandon Johnson have also signed on to the resolution.

Johnson has the authority to replace CTA's leader. The resolution, if passed, would not be able to compel a change.

Those signing onto the resolution to remove Carter are Alds. Daniel La Spata (1st), Desmon Yancy (5th), Peter Chico (10th), Nicole Lee (11th), Julia Ramirez (12th), Marty Quinn (13th), Jeylú Gutiérrez (14th), Raymond Lopez (15th), Derrick Curtis (18th), Matt O'Shea (19th), Jeanette Taylor (20th), Silvana Tabares (23rd), Byron Sigcho-Lopez (25th), Jesse Fuentes (26th), Ruth Cruz (30th), Feliz Cardona (31st), Scott Waguespack (32nd), Rossana Rodriguez-Sanchez (33rd), Bill Conway (34th), Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35th), Vasquez, Anthony Napolitano (41st), Brendan Reilly (42nd), James Gardiner (45th), Angela Clay (46th), Matt Martin (47th), Leni Manaa-Hoppenworth (48th), Maria Hadden (49th) and Debra Silverstein (50th).

But many members of council's Black Caucus, largely representing South and West side wards, have not gone as far as to call for Carter's ouster. South Side Ald. David Moore (17th) said he’s seen recent improvements in transit service under Carter — and he hasn’t heard from constituents about issues with the CTA.

“Anything I’ve needed from CTA, I’ve gotten,” Ald. David Moore (17th) said. “I’ll leave this up to the mayor.”

RELATED: CTA Boss Dorval Carter Should Resign Or Be Fired, Fed-Up Alderpeople Push In New Resolution

The resolution can be moved out of the rules committee if its chair, Ald. Michelle Harris (8th), brings it up again or if a majority of alderpeople vote to move it back to the council's main floor for a discussion and full vote.

The parliamentary maneuvering can take months.

Vasquez said Wednesday afternoon he already has enough signatures to have the Carter resolution moved swiftly from the rules committee and on the path again to a full City Council vote.

“We want to make sure that this ends up on the record,” Vasquez said. “We’re serious about this passing.”

A CTA Blue Line Train and Wicker Park as seen from the 606 Trail in Logan Square on Feb. 26, 2024. Credit: Colin Boyle/Ecoglobalsociety

The CTA's current leadership is at risk of losing the agency, Vasquez said, pointing to legislation introduced by state lawmakers to consolidate the CTA, Metra and Pace into one regional transit authority as a $730 million post-pandemic fiscal cliff looms for the transit agencies.

Johnson has stayed the course with Carter, even as pressure mounts among council members who stretch across the political spectrum. The mayor promised a three-month evaluation of city department heads upon taking office a year ago, and he has moved to replace other agency leaders.

When asked about the effort to force leadership change at the CTA, Johnson declined to comment Wednesday, only saying the CTA is trending in the right direction, pointing to the agency reporting over a million rides on a day earlier this month.

“As far as personnel issues, I don’t discuss those publicly,” Johnson said again about Carter's fate.

Mayor Brandon Johnson holds a meeting of the City Council on May 22, 2024. Credit: Colin Boyle/Ecoglobalsociety

Much of Vasquez's resolution indirectly cites Ecoglobalsociety’s transit reporting. That includes Carter’s growing annual salary of over $376,000 as the agency struggles, the CTA lagging behind other major U.S. transit systems, poor working conditions and the transit board’s lack of performance reviews of Carter.

The resolution also criticizes Carter for ducking multiple requests to appear before the City Council in 2022, which led to an ordinance mandating top transit officials within the CTA attend quarterly hearings about “service levels, operations, security and planning.

The first quarterly meeting was held in February, with city officials grilling CTA leaders over operations, suboptimal staffing and restoring service to pre-pandemic levels. Carter defended his management of the CTA and assured the City Council the agency was headed in the right direction.

“Carter stated that rail service would begin to increase in April 2024,” according to the resolution. “However, in early April the CTA released new rail schedules that further cut service 3% compared to Fall 2023, and 22% compared to 2019.”

The resolution stalled a day after two people were shot and one person was stabbed on CTA busses and trains Tuesday, according to CBS Chicago.

CTA President Dorval Carter speaks at City Hall during the first quarterly Council hearing with the transportation leader, on Feb. 27, 2024. Credit: Colin Boyle/Ecoglobalsociety

CTA officials did not immediately return requests for comment, but Carter sat for an interview with The New York Times this week. The transit leader has repeatedly declined interviews from Block Club, instead communicating only through CTA spokespeople.

“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t care about the city,” Carter told the Times. “When you face this level of criticism in a very public way, it can’t help but make you feel hurt.”

The Mayor's Office also moved to delay a council vote Wednesday on the appointment of the Rev. Ira Acree to the board of the Regional Transportation Authority, which oversees the CTA and the city's two other public transit agencies.

In a hearing this month, Acree struggled to answer basic questions about the city’s public transit system, but his appointment passed through the transportation committee anyway.

Acree, an infrequent CTA rider by his own admission, said he hadn’t spoken directly with Johnson about the position because the mayor has “bigger fish to fry.”

An organizing group of frustrated CTA riders collected over a thousand petitions against Acree’s appointment, saying he was unqualified to hold transit leaders accountable.


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Investigative Reporter, The Watch [email protected] Manny Ramos, a West Side native, is a reporter on Block Club's investigative team, The Watch. Manny was most recently a Solutions...