Thursday, November 15, 2012

PRESS RELEASE: Ald. Sawyer introduces privatization transparency ordinance

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As the city council votes for the 2013 budget, Alderman Roderick T. Sawyer of the 6th Ward introduced an ordinance that he believes will help the city maintain growth as it increases its fiscal discipline. The Privatization Transparency and Accountability Ordinance is a tool to allow the City Council to evaluate the full costs of any proposed privatization deals as well as judge their effectiveness in maintaining financial accountability. The ordinance would require a city council committee hearing on any proposed privatization deals that would evaluate the savings, and if the deal was in the best interests of the city.

"I do not believe that there are no good privatization deals," Alderman Sawyer said, "I just think we should be clear about which deals are in the best interest of the city and which are not. I have a concern about touting a monetary savings if we haven't thought about the people that will lose a job, the families that could lose a home and the local businesses that could lose a loyal customer. "

The Ordinance provides that any City department that is considering the privatization of any part of its operations must :conduct a study on the cost-effectiveness of privatizing the service prior to the award of any contract; work with the potentially affected employees, and their union, to pursue all reasonable options to improve the quality of service in-house; cooperate with the City Council Committee on Budget and Government Accountability which will hold at least one hearing on the proposed privatization plan; demonstrate greater than 10% projected cost savings and that the economic benefits of privatization outweigh the public’s interest in continued city operation of the service; among other reforms.

"I have a lot of government workers in my ward as do many of my colleagues," Alderman Sawyer continued, "If we gut the foundation of our most stable communities by moving jobs to companies that do not have a residency requirement, does the money saved on the budget make up for the money lost in property tax and sales tax revenue? Is there consideration on possible collateral costs of neighborhood destabilization and loss of property values? I believe that the more we know, the better it is for this city. This is a Pro-Chicago ordinance.”
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