What could go wrong?
Today, the Chicago City Council voted 41-5 to give Mayor Emanuel more authority to enter into contracts for goods, work and services with respect to the G8 and NATO summits this Spring.
Today, the Chicago City Council voted 41-5 to give Mayor Emanuel more authority to enter into contracts for goods, work and services with respect to the G8 and NATO summits this Spring. They did this so he could enter the City into contracts without having to go through that old, pesky bidding process.
Certainly, as one proponent of the ordinance told me, this authority allows the Mayor to circumvent the procurement process, which at best estimates could get him a nice, fairly bidded, publicly vetted contract in six months at least. But six months is a long time, especially since the G8/NATO summits are only a few months away.
Be that as it may, at the end of the day taxpayers need to know and have a say in how our money is being spent. Was there really no way to build public and/or City Council oversight into the ordinance? Of course there was– but it wasn’t!
Transparency–particularly in the critical areas of government contracting and spending–is a critical tool for preventing corruption, boosting public confidence in government, and ensuring fiscal responsibility.
Now we are stuck with the Mayor having full (be it temporary) authority to enter the City into contracts without any public oversight. What could possibly go wrong?
To read the full ordinance, go here.
State Director, Environment Oregon
As director of Environment Oregon, Celeste develops and runs campaigns to win real results for Oregon's environment. She has worked on issues ranging from preventing plastic pollution, stopping global warming, defending clean water, and protecting our beautiful places. Celeste's organizing has helped to reduce kids' exposure to lead in drinking water at childcare facilities in Oregon, encourage transportation electrification, ban single-use plastic grocery bags, defend our bedrock environmental laws and more. She is also the author of the children's book, Myrtle the Turtle, empowering kids to prevent plastic pollution. Celeste lives in Portland, Ore., with her husband and two daughters, where they frequently enjoy the bounty of Oregon's natural beauty.