Alderman Roderick T. Sawyer Marks the One Year Anniversary of the Privatization Ordinance In Rules Committee
One year ago today Alderman Roderick T. Sawyer introduced the Privatization Transparency and Accountability Ordinance to help protect Chicago taxpayers from poorly vetted privatization deals. Since it was introduced it was sent to the Rules Committee of Chicago City Council where it has not received any information or discussion and taxpayers remain unprotected. On November 14th, Alderman Sawyer along with the Better Government Association and the Union League of Chicago held a press conference to demand that this ordinance be assigned to a committee and receive a hearing.
Statement Alderman Roderick T. Sawyer for Union League of Chicago Press Conference
Tomorrow marks the 1 year anniversary of the introduction of the Privatization Transparency and Accountability Ordinance. For 364 days this ordinance has sat in the Rules Committee, never added to the agenda and never opened for any discussion or evaluation.
The ordinance was never meant to be controversial. This ordinance was meant as recognition of the fact that we live in challenging fiscal times and that we must be extremely cautious in how we spend the taxpayers’ money.
No one can challenge that privatization deals have a substantive effect. Sometimes privatizing an asset or service may the best way forward for the city and sometimes the fiscal and social costs are too high. Regardless, as we navigate the path to Building a New Chicago it is important that we discuss these things in daylight and solicit the public’s input and support. The fact that we may disagree on whether any particular privatization of assets or services is in the best interest is not, in my opinion, a reason to not have hearings.
What brings us here today, however, is a question of process. Valid ideas to improve the government of the city of Chicago deserve a fair hearing in committee. The committee hearing process can result improvements to the ordinance if some provision is deemed too onerous or some regulation is too lax. And after the discussion, if the majority does not believe that this idea is in the best interest of the city than the legislative body can vote that provision down. This is how a representative democracy is supposed to work.
Today I am proud that a number of my colleagues, the Better Government Association and the Union League of Chicago are willing to stand up for the idea that governing legislation, such as the Privatization Transparency and Accountability Ordinance, deserves a hearing. To stand up for the idea that regular order is important in city of Chicago government.
As a city we are facing tremendous challenges in the future. As Aldermen and Civic Organizations we stand ready to help. Through joint and open processes we can face these challenges as one Chicago and come out stronger.
In this spirit we renew our call to Mayor Emanuel and Alderman Michele Harris, chair of the Rules Committee and a signed co-sponsor of this ordinance, to allow a hearing on this ordinance.