January 11, 2012

Ethics Reform Task Force Launches Online Forum to Encourage Public Input

New Website Will Provide an Interactive Forum for all Residents to Contribute Their Ideas and Give Feedback on How Best to Improve Ethics Rules Governing City Government

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

The Ethics Reform Task Force launched a new website (CityofChicago.org/ethicstaskforce) today, that will provide an interactive vehicle to engage the public in developing recommendations that will hold City officials and employees to the highest ethical standards and promote transparency and accountability.

“I created an Ethics Reform Task Force in order to recommend reforms to Chicago's ethics ordinance and better serve taxpayers,” said Mayor Emanuel. “This website will assist the Ethics Reform Task Force to assess the current ordinance, consider best practices across the nation, and make recommendations to ensure appropriate oversight of government activity.”

The website consists of several interactive forums that allow participants to respond to topics posed by the Ethics Reform Task Force. All suggestions and comments will be synthesized for Ethics Reform Task Force members and suggestions will inform the Task Force's final report to the public. The public is also able to e-mail ideas and feedback to the Task Force privately at EthicsTaskForce@gmail.com.

A letter was recently sent to City Council members on behalf of the Ethics Reform Task Force informing members of the website and the Task Force’s plans to offer council members and Chicagoans various opportunities to take part in this process. Those include hosting public meetings, interviewing key experts and civic leaders, and appearing before the Council’s Committee on Committees, Rules and Ethics.

“Over the next three months, we hope that the public will join in our efforts and share their thoughts and suggestions on continuing to strengthen ethics in Chicago government and ensuring that our city is responsive, honest and open to our residents,” said Cynthia Canary, Chair, Ethics Reform Task Force.

This past December, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced the appointment of the Ethics Reform Task Force. The Task Force is chaired by Cynthia Canary and includes Sergio Acosta, Alderman Will Burns, and Dawn Clark Netsch.  The Task Force is staffed by a pro bono team of senior attorneys from the law firm Jones Day through the Civic Consulting Alliance.

The Ethics Reform Task Force has a four-month deadline to recommend reforms to the ethics ordinance that governs conflicts of interest among City officials and employees.

During the Mayor’s first seven months in office, both the Administration and the City Council have already 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; 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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