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Emanuel faces big money woes as Chicago mayor

February 23, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has his work cut out for him when he takes over as mayor of Chicago.

Emanuel was back at it early Wednesday, greeting voters at a South Side train stop and saying he was heartened by the support he received "and the opportunity to turn the page and start anew with a fresh beginning on tackling the problems that face the city of Chicago."

Emanuel, who won 55 percent of the vote on Tuesday, must figure out a way to balance a budget that could be half a billion dollars in the red next year.

Throughout the campaign, Emanuel has acknowledged he'll have to make budget cuts, and has promised to spread the pain as fairly as possible, starting with his own office.

But, like the other candidates, he has been vague about how he'll accomplish the reductions. And nothing he has suggested comes close to the projected deficit.

As the next mayor, Emanuel also faces a fractious political landscape.

He'll have to find new leadership for the struggling public school system, as two top interim executives plan to leave. He'll also need a new police chief, having said he would not renew Police Superintendent Jody Weis' contract. The department is suffering from low morale and staffing estimated at 1,000 officers below previous levels.

He bested a crowded field, including former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun.

Emanuel takes office in May, replacing Richard M. Daley, who has been in office 22 years. Daley was the longest-serving mayor in Chicago's history.

Emanuel resigned from the Obama administration last October. Within hours of the victory, the president sent his congratulations.