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.