Our View: Although Mayor Rahm Emanuel introduced his Chicago Infrastructure Bank ordinance–a thoroughly complex proposal–only a month ago, he claims that there has been enough public debate.
Emanuel is wrong.
Although the Mayor agreed to delay until Tuesday a vote on the plan to corral private investors to build public projects, he is unwilling to both answer all questions posed by aldermen or offer many concessions to those who want adjustments.
The aldermen want to strengthen oversight and transparency over the trust’s governing board.
They also say that the trust ordinance fails to extend the oversight authority of the inspector general’s office to the trust’s operations. Emanuel’s measure is unclear that compliance with city the ethics ordinance on conflicts of interest is required. Additionally, aldermen complain that the state is powerless to impose open meeting or public information law on the new entity.
Moreover, the city council’s project approval write extends only to city projects, but not to the projects of agencies such as the Chicago Public Schools, the Chicago Transportation Authority, the Chicago Park District, etc.
With all these shortcomings and deficiencies, the Mayor’s rush to trample the aldermen’s concerns and win rapid approval of his proposal risks undermining the institution’s integrity and the future projects for which the trust is designed to serve.
If the trust is worth doing, then it is worth doing right.
But the mayor is hell bent on getting his way–getting it fast and getting it without much aldermanic interference. When some project ultimately goes wrong, guess who will get stuck with the bill? Chicago taxpayers.
Rahm may rue this rush one day.