Fifteen questions for Chicago's new mayor
02/16/2011 10:00 PM
Dear Mayoral Candidate:
Congratulations on your campaign. This is an important election as we choose a new mayor to lead us into the post-Daley era in Chicago.
Chicago city government faces its first real opportunity in more than 50 years to shed its notorious reputation for having a culture of corruption. The next mayor can take a leadership role in an effort to root out political corruption or the new mayor can act like the incumbent, accept the status quo, tolerate corruption, and pay lip service to meaningful reform.
I, and my co-authors from the University of Illinois at Chicago, have sent you a copy of our Anti-Corruption Report entitled, Patronage, Cronyism and Criminality in Chicago Government Agencies detailing the problems of corruption in city government.
We are asking you to agree before the February 22 election to support our plan and the 15 proposals listed in the report.
We are asking, if you are elected, would you:
1. Work to elect reform candidates who run on reform platforms?
2. Provide leadership to develop a strong bloc of aldermen to enact campaign and governmental reforms?
3. Enact public financing for all citywide and aldermanic campaigns?
4. Prohibit campaign committees from depositing any checks unless they have complete disclosure information at the time of the deposits?
5. Prohibit any elected or appointed public official from lobbying any unit of local or state legislative, executive, judicial or quasi-judicial branch or agency on behalf of any entity except on behalf of his or her sole employer?
6. Prohibit city employees from accepting any gifts from anyone representing, doing business with or seeking action from a government official, department, or legislative, regulatory or judicial body?
7. Require candidates for alderman and mayor to report details of personal financing by making their income tax forms public to ensure that there are no conflicts of interest?
8. Strengthen the revolving door laws to require Board of Ethics approval before any city official, within two years of retirement, can take up employment with any company or entity which has business with the city agency or department where he or she was employed?
9. Require, or at least encourage, public schools to modify their curriculum to teach about the costs of public corruption and the importance of honest, ethical government?
10. Strengthen the inspector general’s office by giving it the power to investigate complaints against aldermen and aldermanic staff members, and empower the inspector general to prevent patronage hiring as well investigate corruption?
11. Create a more coherent and intelligible website for accessing city contract procurement data and upgrade the current Chicago City website which is fragmented and is missing data?
12. Create a credit rating system for contracting firms based on their size, history, and operational efficacy that would benefit firms when jobs are finished on or ahead of schedule and at or under budget, and detract from them when jobs are completed behind schedule and over-budget? Would you give the Inspector General’s office the responsibility to oversee the relationships between contractors and sub-contractors, as well as the integrity of firms seeking contracts for the minorities, woman and the disadvantaged?
13. Establish an effective standard of lifelong bans from Chicago City business competition for penalizing fraudulent firms?
14. Create a hotline and provide monetary incentive to individuals who provide information leading to the indictment or conviction of contracting firms?
15. Prohibit “double dipping” by preventing any elected or appointed public official or governmental employee from working for more than one government at any one time?
Should you be elected Mayor, I will be glad to work with you to implement these proposals so that we can begin to change the culture of corruption which has haunted Chicago since the first convictions of public officials in 1869.
Yours faithfully, Dick Simpson