Mayor Emanuel Announces New Task Force on Procurement in City Government and Sister Agencies

May 19, 2015


 Inspector General, Chief Procurement Officer to Head Group to Boost Uniformity, Efficiency and Accountability


Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced the creation of a new task force to develop recommendations to make procurement and contract management at the City and its Sister Agencies more uniform, efficient and cost-effective, while increasing accountability.  The Procurement Reform Task Force will be co-chaired by the Inspector General and the City's Chief Procurement Officer.

"While we have taken important steps forward to reform procurement processes over the past four years, there's always more that can be done." said Mayor Emanuel. "Though we have made improvements, this is an opportunity to create a world-class procurement program for all of city government that is a model of efficiency, transparency, and support for our communities."

While the City has made major reforms to strengthen procurement under Mayor Emanuel, processes, rules and oversight still vary at sister agencies.  By studying procurement processes, contract compliance, data systems and oversight, the Task Force aims to distinguish successful practices, identify areas for improvement and promote a greater level of uniformity across City government and each sister agency.  Specifically, the Task Force will propose best practices for all procurement methods across agencies; including MBE/WBE/DBE compliance plans, contracts monitoring, and good faith efforts for compliance; as well as methods for sharing information about contractors and debarred vendors.

"Variations in procurement, compliance, contract management and enforcement standards and systems across the City and sister agencies result in barriers to entry for small businesses, add needless complexity and costs for event the most sophisticated contractors and vendors, and create opportunities for bad actors, all to the detriment of the taxpayer." said Inspector General Joseph Ferguson, a co-chair of the Task Force.  "I welcome the Mayor's charge to the Task Force to explore avenues for uniformity in standards and processes grounded in best practices, which will create efficiencies and economics that benefit City taxpayers and business partners alike."

The Task Force, which will include the Chief Executive Officer, Executive Director, or Chancellor of the six participating sister agencies, will conduct its work in the coming months and deliver its report prior to the City's budget hearings in October.

"Collectively, the City of Chicago and its sister agencies spend significant amounts of money on procurement annually, and this is an important opportunity to review and improve our processes for awarding and managing contracts," said Jamie Rhee, the City's Chief Procurement Officer and a co-chair of the task force.  "I look forward to this opportunity to build off our existing efforts and provide residents with an even more efficient, even more accountable government."

Reforming city government has been a top priority of Mayor Emanuel, and improving the City's procurement is critical to the Mayor's vision.  The information of the Procurement Task Force builds on the other steps the Mayor has taken.  Less than two months after he took office in 2011, and at the Mayor's direction, the City made substantial reforms to its contracting processes - adopting recommendations offered by the Inspector General and including several of its own reforms for compliance and transparency.  Those reforms included the appointment of a new board of city employees by the Chief Procurement Officer; limitations on the use of sole source contracting; and instituting a mandatory three week posting for sole source contracting so other entities could respond and notify the City if they also offer a service to be provided through a sole source contract.  Additionally, over the past four years, the City's Department of Procurement Services, the Office of Inspector General, and other City departments and sister agencies have worked collaboratively, through initiatives such as the Government Procurement Compliance Forum, to make the procurement process more efficient, standardized, and transparent. 

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