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Gery Chico, Chicago mayoral hopeful, tougher City Hall ethics proposals

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below, from Chico campaign.....

Chico rolls out more ethics reforms

CHICAGO: Mayoral candidate Gery Chico proposed a series of ethics reforms today intended to bring a new level of transparency and efficiency to city government. Like Chico's recent "Sunshine Chicago" initiative (VIDEO) and ordinance to protect the City's long-term reserves, these reforms would create more accountability.

If elected, Chico would eliminate the Office of Compliance and shift the Board of Ethics under the purview of the Inspector General, streamlining the City's ethics and oversight functions into one body. The merge would strengthen oversight, save money and allow resources to be better invested to root out corruption and waste at the ground level. Chico would also immediately adopt many proposals by the Illinois Reform Commission that can be applied to the City of Chicago, such as mandating year-round disclosure of campaign contributions of more than $500 within 48 hours.

"We don't have to wait for the Illinois Legislature or the federal government to create more openness, transparency and accountability in city government," Gery Chico said. "Let's do it now, let's do it ourselves and let's give our Inspector General the necessary tools to make government better at all levels."

To ensure that the Inspector General is a truly independent body, Chico's proposal calls for one Inspector General to be appointed by an independent commission of five members, three appointed by the City Council and two by the mayor. Currently, there are two inspector generals, one appointed by the mayor and another that is currently being appointed by the City Council.

Chico also vowed to abolish no-bid contracts by putting all investment and legal contracts out to a competitive, transparent bidding process and ending conflicts of interest in city government by restricting any City of Chicago employee, appointee or elected official from doing business with the City during the time they work for the City and for a 2-year period following their departure. Furthermore, if those individuals have a financial interest in any business, that business would be ineligible from doing business with the City during the individual's tenure and for two years following their service.

"It will be a new day in Chicago," Chico said. "As mayor, I will end the culture of pinstripe patronage and bring more openness, access and accountability to our government."

These proposals would be facilitated by Chico's "Sunshine Chicago" initiative, which would adopt open data principles to the City's existing website to empower the public with unprecedented access to data and information.

Chico's 5-point proposal includes:

- Adopting many of the recommendations proposed by the Illinois Reform Commission that can be applied to the City of Chicago.
- Strengthening and streamlining ethics and oversight functions of City Hall by eliminating the Office of Compliance and shifting the Ethics Board under the purview of the Inspector General's office.
- Ensuring the Inspector General's office is truly independent and efficient by allowing it to be appointed by an independent five-member commission, three appointed by the City Council and two by the mayor.
- Ensure all contracts are competitively bid in an open, transparent manner.
- Abolish conflicts of interest in city government.

Gery Chico's Ethics Reforms

Adopt Reform Commission Recommendations
As Mayor of Chicago, I will adopt many of the recommendations proposed by the Illinois Reform Commission in April 2009.
o The Reform Commission set a good framework of principles that we should incorporate into City Hall.
o Upon taking office, I will adopt those recommendations of the Illinois Reform Commission that can be applied to the City of Chicago, regardless of the actions of the Illinois legislature.

Streamline City Hall
As Mayor of Chicago, I will strengthen and streamline the ethics and oversight functions of City Hall.
o Eliminate the Office of Compliance and transfer the responsibilities and resources of the office to the Inspector General's Office.
• The Office of Compliance has widely been considered ineffective, described as having a "considerable reluctance" to address "highly publicized and important failures." (Spielman, Sun-Times, 2/3/10)
o Shift the Ethics Board to fall under the purview of the Inspector General's Office.

Independent Inspector General
As Mayor of Chicago, I will ensure that the Inspector General's Office is a truly independent body.
o The Inspector General must be truly independent in order to effectively fulfill its mission of investigating waste, fraud and abuse in government.
o We will have one Inspector General that has authority over the executive and the legislature.
o The Inspector General will be appointed by an independent commission. The commission will have 5 members; 2 members appointed by the Mayor, 3 members appointed by the City Council.

End No Bid Contracts
As Mayor of Chicago, I will end the practice of pinstriped patronage.
o All investment banking and legal contracts will be competitively bid in a manner that is open and transparent to the public.
o The transparency initiative I released last week, Sunshine Chicago, will create a new culture of openness by changing the way City Hall treats data. This initiative will require and enable all data regarding contracts, including bidders rankings, to be posted and updated online.

End Conflicts of Interest
As Mayor of Chicago, I will end conflicts of interest.
o Any employee, appointee or elected official, paid by the City of Chicago, will be prevented from doing business with the city, during and two years after their service.
o In addition, if these individuals have a financial interest in a business, those businesses will be prevented from doing business with the city during, and two years after that individual's service.


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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on December 2, 2010 11:22 AM.

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