Transparency: Good for Illinois why not Chicago?

Date: 
01/20/2015
PTAOprconf

C.J. Hawking talks as John Arena, AFSCME's Jo Patton, Scott Waguespack, Bob Fioretti, Roderick Sawyer, Nick Sposato (36th Ward), AFSCME's Adrienne Alexander and Ricardo Munoz (22nd Ward) 

While newly seated Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed Executive Order 15-10 on Jan. 15 to increase government transparency. the "move it to another committee" game goes on in Chicago's City Council. Today, the Council's Progressive Reform Caucus renewed its call for progress on the Privatization Transparency and Accountability Ordinance (PTAO), which has been stalled in committees since November 2012.

That ordinance, which would require a City Council committee hearing on any proposed privatization deal to determine its full cost and impact, sat in the Rules Committee for over 18 months before being moved to the Committee on Workforce Development and Audit in October 2014, where it remains. The legislation would also require that City departments considering a privatization deal study the cost effectiveness of the proposal and prove cost savings of more than 10 percent.

“There should be nothing controversial about this ordinance, in fact, the Mayor recently said that he would be introducing his own version,” said Alderman Roderick Sawyer (6th Ward). “Instead, we just need to make amendments to this ordinance that was filed more than two years ago. This legislation could save taxpayers from terrible deals like the parking meter privatization plan, and it deserves an immediate hearing and a vote.”

"It is lack of honesty that has brought us bad deals like privatizing parking meters 1 and 2 as well as Ventra. Taxpayers and citizens interests always come second to deal makers and the PTAO will be a step in the right direction, opening deals up to a little more scrutiny," .

“Now is the time for leadership on this important issue to protect taxpayers,” said Alderman John Arena (45th). “The City Council needs to lead by holding the hearing, working together to talk through the issues and making sure this ordinance is called to a vote in timely fashion.”

"This has been going on for way to long, we need transparency and accountability to come forward. Hidden under the cloak of secrecy and client privilege, documents are not given to aldermen when issues come before Council. We must have that information to fully understand what we are voting for," said Bob Fioretti (2nd Ward), who is also a Mayoral Candidate.

Rev. C.J. Hawking of Arise Chicago also stood in support of the ordinance. “Very few good things happen in the dark. We want to bring things out into the light. We want transparency and we want these jobs to stay with our Chicago citizens.”

“This important ordinance would help to shine a bright light on City contracts before any deal is signed,” said AFSCME Council 31 President Roberta Lynch. “It has languished in Committee for far too long and deserves a full hearing and expeditious vote.”

The ordinance (click on the 02012-8064.pdf to see the 2012 proposed ordinance) has 32 co-sponsors. 26 yes votes are needed to pass the full Council.

The PTAO has been endorsed by:

  • Better Government Association
  • AFSCME Council 31
  • Arise Chicago
  • Chatham Business Association
  • Chesterfield Neighbors Community Council
  • Chicago Coalition for the Homeless
  • Chicago Federation of Labor
  • Chicago Teachers Union
  • Citizen Action/Illinois
  • Common Cause Illinois
  • Enlace Chicago
  • Grassroots Collaborative
  • Grey Panthers
  • Health and Medicine Policy Research Group
  • Horner Park Advisory Council
  • IBEW Local 9
  • Illinois/Indiana Regional Organizing Network (IIRON)
  • Illinois Nurses Association
  • Illinois Public Interest Research Group (IPRIG)
  • League of Women Voters
  • Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce
  • National Association of Letter Carriers, Branch 11
  • Northside Action for Justice
  • Park Manor Neighbors Community Council
  • Progressive Democrats of America – Chicago Chapter
  • Rainforest Action Network Chicago
  • SEIU Healthcare Illinois Indiana
  • SEIU Local 1
  • SEIU Local 73
  • South Austin Coalition Community Council (SACCC)
  • Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP)
  • Southsiders Organized for Unity and Liberation (SOUL)
  • West Loop Community Organization
  • West Rogers Park Community Organization
  • Wicker Park Committee
  • Woodlawn East Community and Neighbors (WECAN)
  • Wrightwood Neighbors Association
Rauner's Executive Order
Under the Executive Order, Rutan-exempt employees will be published on the Illinois Transparency and Accountability Portal (ITAP) website, giving the people of Illinois a way to easily find the state’s political hires.

It also instructs the Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) to assist units of local government in providing information about their employees for posting on the ITAP website.

“Taxpayers at every level of government deserve to know more about how their money is being spent,” said Rauner. “The action we are taking will help build a more open and accountable government.

“We need to restore faith in state government if we expect the people of Illinois to help the government in its mission. This Executive Order is a first step towards earning back the people’s trust.”

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