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Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced the launch of a new Expediter database to help Chicago businesses be more vigilant in selecting and working with expediters and other third parties who offer to help them acquire licenses and permits. Expediters are City Hall veterans who tout their experience and relationships to businesses in selling their services. Businesses are often unaware of violations or complaints against these individuals. This new database -located at http://www.cityofchicago.org/sbc - supports Mayor Emanuel’s commitment to transparency, making it easier for businesses to conduct their own due diligence.
“Our new Expediter database will make it easier for businesses to research and report expediters and other third parties,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Greater transparency helps create a better business environment for all Chicago residents and businesses.”
All expediters and third-party processors will now be required to list their information in the database before representing a business at the Small Business Center, the Department of Buildings (DOB) or Zoning. The database will display city and state licenses, license expiration dates, and any city violations committed by the third party. There are also links to the Illinois Attorney Registration Database Commission (ARDC) and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) to research and report attorneys and accountants, architects or engineers respectively.
“While no business needs an expediter or attorney to apply for their licenses and permits at the Small Business Center, we want to ensure that businesses that opt for a third party representative are not disadvantaged,” said Maria Guerra Lapacek, Commissioner of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection. “The new Expediter database will ensure businesses can easily research third parties to represent them.”
Many of the delays that businesses cite are often a result of miscommunication or even misrepresentation by paid third party processors. Businesses that choose to work with a third party should have the tools to conduct their own research and report possible violations. This will make the business environment better for everyone in Chicago.
The database includes the 246 currently licensed expediters as well as 50 attorneys and third parties and their employees that frequently represent businesses at the Small Business Center. There is currently only one violation by an expediter, but the increased transparency and awareness will make it easier for businesses to report possible violations. It will soon be extended to the nearly 13,000 Illinois-licensed architects and structural engineers that may do business with the city on behalf of residents and business owners, and all unlisted attorneys and sign contractors conducting business at the Small Business Center will also be asked to register
All third parties representing businesses at the Small Business Center are required to also be listed. The Database will be expanded to architects, engineers and other third party processors at the DOB and Zoning in 2015.
“Chicago residents and businesses routinely employ licensed professionals to assist them with the building permit and inspection process. This new database provides increased accountability for these licensed professionals, as well as another tool for consumers to use as they determine who best to hire for a particular project,” said Felicia Davis, Commissioner of the Department of Buildings.
The Expediter database is just one in a series of reforms implemented by Mayor Emanuel to improve transparency in city government. Chicago is a leader in open data and has over 600 data sets available on its data portal including current employee data, 311 service requests, available city land parcels, and a lobbyist database. Mayor Emanuel previously introduced the lobbyist database to link City lobbyists’ activities, compensation and expenses with each of their clients.