Seven times a year, the nine-member board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago meets in the most secure building in the city, in the bowels of LaSalle Street, where millions of dollars in worn-out cash are shredded every week in the basement. -- Melissa Harris' Chicago Confidential
I was fascinated to learn that Terry Mazany, the chief executive of the Chicago Community Trust and former interim chief of the Chicago Public Schools, sits on the board of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago along with USG Corp. Chairman William Foote, Northern Trust CEO Frederick Waddell, Allstate CEO Thomas Wilson and executives from Wisconsin, Iowa and Indiana. I think Mazany had hopes of staying on as the mayor's permanent schools CEO, but Emanuel brought imported J.C. Brizard instead.
Mazany tells Tribune business columnist Harris, that at every meeting, each board member shares with Fed Bank Pres. Charles Evans, news and data about what's happening in their worlds through anecdotal observations and data. Mazany says his job is to represent the general public, and the picture he painted at Thursday's meeting was grim.
"I want to emphasize that we need to understand here that there is no safety net left to fall into. The poverty statistics for Illinois are 14.1 percent, that's about 1.8 million people, and it's even higher in Chicago, as high as 21 percent... In the past 20 years, the bottom 40 percent of earners gained about 13 percent in their income, whereas the top 20 percent grew by 35 percent and the top 5 percent grew by 57 percent. We are seeing a hollowing out of our communities."
Read Harris' entire column here.