• Mike Fourcher
    A.D. Quig
    OCT 06, 2015

    Morning Budget Hearings Day 6


    The Budget Committee blazed through hearings for the Office of Disabilities in an amazing seven minutes. Short of a couple comments from aldermen thanking Comm. Karen Tamley for her work stretching out Community Development Block Grants, there were few questions. 

    Submitted written testimony

    Attendance: Chair Carrie Austin (34), Leslie Hairston (5), Ricardo Munoz (22), Michael Scott (24), Jason Ervin (28), Chris Taliaferro (29), Ariel Reboyras (30), Anthony Napolitano (40). 


    Administrator Scott Ando trumpeted his organization’s ability to get out from IPRA’s case backlog, reducing pending cases from 2,200 in 2011 to 410 this year. Safer Report standards have called for 90% of cases to be resolved within 18 months, IPRA is at about 80% within 18 months.

    Attendance: Chair Carrie Austin (34), Pat Dowell (3), Leslie Hairston (5), Roderick Sawyer (6), David Moore (17), Ricardo Munoz (22), Michael Zalewski (23), Michael Scott (24), Jason Ervin (28), Chris Taliaferro (29), Scott Waguespack (32), Emma Mitts (37), Anthony Napolitano (40), Brendan Reilly (42), Michele Smith (43), John Arena (45), Joe Moore (49), Ameya Pawar (47).

    Submitted written testimony

    Ando was asked in a number of different ways from aldermen about the status of the case with former IPRA investigator Lorenzo Davis and the merits of his charges that he was asked to make changes to reports. Answering Ald. Jason Ervin (28) he said, “I firmly believe that every allegation put forth in that lawsuit and put in the media is absolutely without merit.”

    In an hour of questioning, aldermen were generally supportive of IPRA and Ando’s work during the Q&A session, focusing their questions on procedure.

    Some other facts and figures from the Q&A session:

    • In 2015 IRPA recommended 8 officers be separated and recommended 6 others for criminal prosecution.

    • In 2015, IPRA attempted 76 mediations, it was accepted in 68 cases - 89.5%.

    • Since 2012, around 450 cases have gone to mediation for a penalty.

    • The city averages about 50 incidents where an officer shoots at someone each year.

    • Before cases are allowed to go to mediation, all four top IPRA officials review it.

    • The number of allegations this year are down about two-thirds than this time last year.



    Breaking a trend, Chair Austin asked Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) Comm. Michelle Boone to read her whole testimony, adding ten minutes to the hearing. Most of the aldermen focused on ways to promote events and to manage permitting in their wards. 

    Attendance: Chair Carrie Austin (34), Leslie Hairston (5), Anthony Beale (9), Patrick Daley Thompson (11), David Moore (17), Ricardo Munoz (22), Michael Zalewski (23), Michael Scott (24), Jason Ervin (28), Milly Santiago (31), Scott Waguespack (32), Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35), Gilbert Villegas (36), Emma Mitts (37), Nicholas Sposato (38), Marge Laurino (39), Anthony Napolitano (40), Brendan Reilly (42), Tom Tunney (44), John Arena (45), Ameya Pawar (47), Harry Osterman (48), Joe Moore (49)

    Submitted written testimony.

      Some facts and figures revealed during the Q&A session:

    • The Chicago Fire Festival - initial commitment was to support the festival for three years, this is the third and final year. The new location on Northerly Island worked well - and this year the houses burned. But there is no allocation in 2016.

    • The Taste of Chicago had a $320,000 profit this year. First profit since 2013, which made just over $200,000. Boone believes it’s because there are more dining options offered.

    • Special Events is working with CDOT to brand the various rapid transit stops drawing attention to city art. For instance the one on south side of Washington Ave. by Daley Plaza might be labeled the “Miro Stop”.

    • DCASE is seeking a city-wide sponsor for the city’s Jumping Jack inflatables.

    • Street festivals are not allowed by law to charge for access to the public way.


    by A.D. Quig - [email protected]

    A lengthy Department of Aviation hearing with new Commissioner Ginger Evansfocused on a popular topic at budget hearings and constituent meetings–minority hiring and airport noise, with many aldermen complaining Evans wasn’t communicating proactively.

    The proposed budget for CDA at O'Hare and Midway are $1.14 billion (up 8.3%) and $258.8 million (down 5.29%), respectively. 

    Attendance: Joe Moreno (1), Pat Dowell (3), Leslie Hairston (5), Roderick Sawyer (6), Michelle Harris (8), Anthony Beale (9), Sue Sadlowski Garza (10), Patrick Daley Thompson (11), George Cardenas (12), Raymond Lopez (15), David Moore (17), Matt O’Shea (19), Willie Cochran (20), Ald. Howard Brookins (21), Ricardo Munoz (22), Michael Zalewski (23), Michael Scott Jr. (24), Jason Ervin (28), Ariel Reboyras (30), Milly Santiago (31), Scott Waguespack (32), Carrie Austin (34), Carlos Ramirez-Rosa (35), Gilbert Villegas (36), Emma Mitts (37), Nicholas Sposato (38), Marge Laurino (39) Anthony Napolitano (41), Brendan Reilly (42), Tom Tunney (44), John Arena (45), Ameya Pawar (47), Joe Moore (49)

    Submitted written testimony. 

    The roughly 3 hour meeting focused mostly on the intricacies of the RFP process for O’Hare’s modernization program, and on changes to flight patterns and how that would affect noise.

    Ald. Marge Laurino (39), a northwest side alderman, echoed a popular refrain from airport noise complainers, “I didn’t move next to O’Hare airport, O’Hare airport moved next to me,” she said, asking what steps Evans was taking to give simple, clear answers about the airport’s new runway configuration.

    “I am personally meeting with ONCC [the O’Hare Noise Compatibility Commission]... we have also increased the amount of data we’re disclosing,” Evans said, “but we’re almost burying people in numbers.” She says CDA should distill, analyse, and simplify that data, including expanding the use of single page white papers to explain existing and upcoming changes. A night time noise pattern agreement is also in the works with surrounding communities, she says. 

    Ald. Anthony Napolitano (41), whose ward encompasses O’Hare, backed Laurino up, as would be expected. But Evans seemed caught off guard by Ald. Leslie Hairston (5) and Ald. Willie Cochran (20), who said their South Side wards were also being impacted by airplane noise, and weren’t getting the kind of attention from CDA that North Siders were. “You’re the commissioner! All I know is when I’m impacted… I should not have to sit up here and guess,” which airport the noise is coming from, Hairston said.

    Aldermen had several questions about whether CDA was reaching out to minority aldermen about upcoming requests for proposals during multi-million dollar upgrades at both airports. Evans said there have been briefings with all aldermen before and during the development of recent RFP, and held a “speed dating” networking event for contractors. Evans also singled out Tiffany Green as a contact. Green is Deputy Commissioner of Concession for CDA, and is responsible for the accounting, auditing, and contract compliance for concessionaires, including the O'Hare Modernization program.

    Ald. Pat Dowell (3) called minority hiring in top management dismal. “You can do a better job than that, commissioner.”

    Evans agreed, “It’s something that I’ve held as a high core value throughout my career… We really need minority and women in leadership positions in order to attract that young talent that we need to be successful--”

    Dowell interrupted, “I will be here next year, and I’m going to be looking at this next year.”

    Black aldermen in particular expressed disappointment that minority and women owned businesses were getting “crumbs” in the bid processes at both airports. Minorities make up 35% of the contract spend at both airports, according to CDA numbers. Ald. Beale called for the unbundling of big contracts, and Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36) reiterated that an ordinance regulating a minimum for W/MBEs, “the goals that are set in the ordinance are the floor, not the ceiling. We should encourage vendors... that they should be more reflective of constituents.”

    Aldermen also asked about how security will be handled when rideshare vehicles will be allowed to pick up from airports on January 1. “We will provide a separate staging facility for the rideshare drivers, separate from our taxicab staging facility, and then basically we will manage the curbside so those two services are basically physically separate.”   

    Some facts and figures from CDA:

    • The much-hyped airport rapid transit solution could come from CDA in 8-10 months. Evans says it requires significant coordination with Metra and CTA.

    • CDA insulated more than 19,000 homes and 164 schools to protect against airport noise.

    • The Midway Terminal Modernization touted by Evans and Mayor Emanuel will cost $248 million and create 1,700 new jobs. The bid will be proposed to City Council in 2016.

    • While many aldermen said CDA should focus on minority hiring, few mentioned the domination of male employees department-wide, which CDA estimates is 79%. There are similar numbers among upper management and new hires (81 and 82% respectively). 6 out of 7 interns, however, are female.

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