November 8, 2011

Mayor Emanuel Announces Procurement Reforms

Increased disclosure rules mark another step in ongoing process of insuring transparency in City government

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced new rules governing economic disclosure statements, aimed at increasing transparency and accountability with City contractors.

“This is yet another step in our ongoing effort to increase transparency in City government," said Mayor Emanuel. “Everyone who provides a public service has to build the public trust.”

As part of the administration’s focus on increasing transparency and accountability, the City of Chicago will take the following steps to strengthen the content of economic disclosure statements:

  • Require filers to list the name(s) of all persons employed by it who were also City employees or served as City elected or appointed officials within the 12 months prior to the filing of the form.
  • Require filers to list all gifts given to City employees and officials within the 12 months prior to filing. Contractors are not currently required to disclose gifts.

These reforms will impact delegate agency grantees and people who purchase land or get land write downs. These reforms follow the release of the RFP for the City’s lobbyist database, which was posted earlier this week and follows on the Mayor’s commitment to create an online one-stop for lobbyist registration and reporting.

Chicagoans can find datasets on lobbyist registration, compensation, lobbyist agency reports, categorized expenditures report, major expenditures reports, termination reports and gift reports online at On his first day in office, Mayor Emanuel signed six ethics Executive Orders aimed at increasing transparency and accountability across the City. And in July, the City Council passed an ordinance introduced by the Mayor that further increased transparency through increasing lobbying disclosure and strengthened limits on lobbying activities through:

  • Searchable Online Registration and Reporting:  Creation of a searchable online system for registration and reporting that allows disclosures to be posted in real-time.
  • Gifts: Adding the term “lobbyist” to those potential gift-givers who are limited to $50 per single, non-cash gift, and $100 in cumulative gifts per calendar year.
  • Loans: Adding lobbyists to the list of persons that City employees, officials or their businesses are prohibited from applying for or receiving loans from.
  • Campaign Contributions: Amending semi-annual activity report form to require lobbyists to disclose all campaign contributions to City elected officials and City employees running for office.
  • Revolving Door: Codifying the post-employment revolving door provisions in Mayor Emanuel’s May 16 Executive Order, which bars employees from lobbying the City after leaving City employment.

Additionally, in July the City implemented stricter regulations on non-competitive contract applications, known as sole-source applications, to increase transparency. For the first time, pending applications for these the contracts are posted online for public review before the Non-Competitive Review Board’s (NCRB) decision, three weeks ahead of the Board’s decision. The pending applications and winning bids can be found here.
The Department of Procurement Services implemented this fall reverse auctions, which operate like E-bay in reverse, allowing vendors to counter bid each other in an online format that will lead to significant cost savings for the City and a more open, modern contracting process.
More information about the administration’s efforts to increase transparency in government is available here.

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