Chicago mayoral candidate Lori Lightfoot held a press conference this morning to present Cleaning up City Government, a policy proposal to bring transparency, ethics, and accountability to Chicago. The press conference was held at the Union League Club of Chicago and streamed live on Facebook.
“Many Chicagoans have a cynical view of city government that is rooted in their experiences or perceptions that Chicago is a large, opaque and inefficient bureaucracy that responds to and works only for those with political clout,” said Lightfoot. “We must restore confidence in city government and make it accessible for all. As mayor, I will ensure that the delivery of city services does not depend on politics and clout. We will start by bringing accountability, oversight and transparency to city government.”
“Lori Lightfoot’s ethics reforms are bold, thoughtful, and necessary,” said former Chicago alderman, University of Illinois at Chicago professor, and good government reform advocate Dick Simpson, who announced his endorsement of Lightfoot at the press conference. “Throughout my career, I’ve fought corruption and mismanagement in city government, and I know there’s much more work to be done. Lori understands this, and she has the ideas and experience needed to build a transparent and accountable Chicago.”
Cleaning up City Government calls for the following reforms:
1. Implement mayoral term limits: To bring new ideas into City Hall and break down machine politics, Lightfoot will introduce an ordinance limiting mayors to two terms
2. Ban profiting from public service: Lightfoot will tackle corruption by banning city employees, including elected officials, from holding outside jobs that conflict with their city responsibilities, such as attorneys focusing on real estate, zoning, and land use.
3. Improve workers’ compensation oversight: To bring transparency to the workers’ compensation program, Lightfoot will create a board of city officials to adjudicate claims in public view and allow for additional oversight.
4. Strengthen government oversight: Lightfoot will build a unified Office of Inspector General to oversee city departments, City Council and its committees, sister agencies, and city contractors. Lightfoot will allow the inspector general to investigate alleged ethics violations, including through the use of subpoenas.
5. Make the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) work for all Chicagoans: A Lightfoot administration will comply with FOIA and end FOIA abuse to ensure public access to information and prevent financial consequences of noncompliance.
6. Bring transparency to tax increment financing (TIF): To eradicate waste and abuse and ensure investments in economically distressed neighborhoods, Lightfoot will hold new and existing districts to rigorous standards.
7. Merge county and city election administration: Lightfoot will work with state legislators to merge Chicago and Cook County election administration to streamline voting processes and save more than $10 million annually.
8. Eliminate conflicts of interest: Rather than allow executive and legislative branches of city government to share counsel, which creates conflicts of interest, Lightfoot will require City Council to obtain its own counsel to provide independent legal advice.
9. Hold budget town halls: Lightfoot will hold multiple town hall meetings each fall before City Council votes on a budget to give the public an opportunity to learn about public finances and share their views.