Alderman leaves Chicago City Council to join TV, film industry

West Side Ald. Michael Scott Jr. is stepping down from the City Council to join Cinespace Studios, which operates sound stages where shows like “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago PD” film.

After seven years on the council, Scott announced Tuesday he was leaving for a new job he did not identify. Hours later Cinespace issued a release saying Scott would take the newly created position of director of industry and community relations.

Scott was first elected in 2015 to represent the 24th Ward that includes North Lawndale, where he has supported a number of developments including a proposed tech center. Before becoming an alderman, Scott worked for the Chicago Park District as a supervisor and manager.

He is well regarded by many of his colleagues who see him as a levelheaded dealmaker, though he sometimes faced criticism from progressive aldermen who wanted him to use his Education Committee chairmanship to hold hearings where critical questions could be asked of CPS leadership.

Scott’s father, Michael Scott, was a close ally to Mayor Richard M. Daley who rose to become president of Chicago’s Board of Education.

“Service has been the cornerstone of my family’s legacy,” Scott Jr. said in a statement. “My mother and father both spent their entire careers serving this great city in one capacity or another. My father is often told that serving your community is the highest calling you can have besides being a man or woman of the cloth. ”

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Scott said his ward, “once dubbed the permanent underclass, is poised for a major renaissance.”

The vacancy marks the second time Mayor Lori Lightfoot will have the opportunity to appoint an alderman. After Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson was convicted in federal court on tax charges earlier this year, Lightfoot appointed Nicole Lee to fill the seat.

As an alderman, Scott was a Lightfoot ally who endorsed her in the second round of 2019’s mayoral race. Lightfoot then tapped Scott to head the City Council education committee.

In his new role, Scott “will provide strategic management for industry and community relations and develop local philanthropic and early education programs for Chicago,” Cinespace said. He will also oversee a training initiative that provides people on the South and West sides with experience on productions filming at Cinespace.

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