Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

Near the start of this week’s Waukegan City Council meeting, Lake County Circuit Court Judge George Bridges Sr. stepped forward to administer the oath to the city’s incoming fire chief — his son, George Bridges Jr.

“It would be my honor to swear him in, with your permission,” Bridges said to Mayor Wayne Motley at the Oct. 5 session, which drew a capacity crowd of supporters and colleagues to see the younger Bridges succeed Ricco Farrell, who retired the same day.

Motley said last week that he selected Bridges to head the department in consultation with Farrell, who offered a list of candidates after announcing last month that he would retire to care for his parents.

“Let me tell you very clearly, so there’s no misunderstanding or misconception. I chose to present Mr. Bridges to be appointed to the position of fire chief for three reasons — only three, no more,” Motley said. “The first reason is his competency. He’s an extremely competent man. Second of all, he’s a very courageous man. And third of all, he’s committed to the city of Waukegan.

“So, when you go back and you hear discussions about why I chose to appoint George Bridges, those are the three reasons and the only three reasons.”

Asked to elaborate following the council meeting, Motley said he had heard comments about cronyism and race related to his selection.

“I didn’t choose him because he’s black, and I didn’t choose him because he’s George Bridges’ son,” said Motley, who worked with the senior Bridges in the Waukegan Police Department. “There were a number of very good candidates, (but) I chose him because he knows this community better than anyone else.”

Aldermen Cunningham and Moisio lauded the concept of hiring a department head from within the ranks.