April 2, 2012

Mayor Emanuel Urges Sister Agencies to Adopt a Zero-Tolerance Gift Policy for Procurement Officers

Asks Sister Agencies to Bring Standards in Line with City and Implement a Full Prohibition on All Gifts from Outside Vendors

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel sent letters to top officials at five sister agencies today urging them to adopt a zero-tolerance gift policy for procurement professionals.  The letter recommends that a full prohibition on all gifts from outside vendors be implemented for procurement professionals, bringing them in line with the City’s Department of Procurement Services.  The agencies include City Colleges of Chicago (CCC), Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), Chicago Housing Authority (CHA), Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and the Chicago Park District. 

"Contracts should be awarded to the most qualified vendor who provides the best service at the lowest price for taxpayers," said Mayor Emanuel. "A zero-tolerance policy for our procurement professionals will ensure that no gift is allowed to sway the awarding of contracts."

Maintaining the highest ethical standards is particularly important in the area of procurement, where taxpayer money is used every single day to purchase essential goods and services. Currently, the Department of Procurement Services has a zero-tolerance policy for gifts from outside vendors. This policy goes beyond the ethics ordinance to ensure that anyone involved in contracting is held to the highest ethical standards. 

During the Mayor’s ten months in office, both the Administration and City Council have undertaken a number of key steps to increase transparency and ethics in City government. 

The City has strengthened procurement disclosure requirements by closing the revolving door between government service and lobbying, reining in no-bid contracts and increasing transparency in procurement by taking away credit cards from all sister agency employees, taking recipients of sweetheart deals to court and taking immediate action when procurement professionals were found to have accepted improper gifts from vendors. 

In addition, the City has created an online database of lobbying activity, seated a Legislative Inspector General, and placed an unprecedented amount of data online in an easy-to-access format. 

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