Saturday, October 23, 2010

Ald. Shiller Unhappy With IG's Cost-Cutting Ideas
(But She Hasn't Even Heard Them Yet)

The Gang of Fifty (otherwise known as the Chicago City Council) hasn't shown the city's Inspector General a lot of love.  They've repeatedly voted against giving him the authority to look at their own dealings for signs of corruption or financial wrong-doing.  Now the IG's come up with some cost-cutting ideas for the City during its worst ever financial crisis.  And he's not telling the City Council what his suggestions are, not even a hint, until Monday's budget hearing.

This isn't settling well with the aldercritters, who are on their collective high horses, even though they haven't yet heard any of his suggestions about how the city might dig its way out of the deep financial hole our elected representatives have put us in.

According to the Sun-Times,
“It’ll be presented to us as being a criticism of what we’re doing, [that] clearly we’re screwed up. Why can’t we do it that way and put us on the defensive before we even can read it and know if that’s true. That is crazy,” said retiring Ald. Helen Shiller (46th).

Well, here's a clue, Ald. Shiller:  The City's finances are screwed up.  Totally and completely.  Thanks to creative funding of, oh, let's see, your bloated $100,000,000.00-plus Wilson Yard TIF, your idea that property taxes should go for fish farms instead of to schools and police, and your failure to vote against selling off the parking meters, among other things.  Yet when someone comes up with a plan that may potentially save the City some big bucks, you and your buddies are insulted instead of grateful that there may be a way out of this mess you've created.

At least give the guy the courtesy of hearing what he has to say before you toss your hair ribbons to the ground and stomp away.


  1. Well, if I may be so bold as to defend our beloved alderman on this one:

    She isn't upset with the details of the proposal - as she obviously hasn't been given the opportunity to review them.

    What she's upset about is the fact that she (and Council) weren't included in the process.

    The IG is essentially going to spring this proposal on Council without Council having any input into its development, whatsoever (but almost wholly responsible for its outcome).

    I'm not sure where the IG gets off in enacting such a tactic, honestly.

    Council's voice definitely needed to be heard and included in IG's recommendations, prior to any part of it being so rudely slapped down in front of them.

    Essentially, the IG is saying: this is the proposal. Deal with it.

    Shiller's got every right to have her panties in a bunch over these developments and I certainly can't fault her for speaking out in the manner that she did.

    I might even be of the mind to find fault with people who criticise her for responding in such a way to what seems like a fairly obvious example of injustice, and possibly even a corrupt use of the power given to the office of the IG>

    To further defend her, even if there are parts of this proposal with which she may agree, and even support, the process the IG took was ultimately unfair.

    Again, THAT is what she's upset about.

    Heck, if I were her, I might even consider looking into any sorts of legal options to ensure that this sort of miscarriage of process never happens again.

    If I were to have her ear for a moment, I would certainly convey to her that I support her response.

    And, if I did have her ear, I would lean over to her and quietly ask: How's it feel being on the sh*t end of the stick, for change.

  2. I, respectfully, disagree Yo...

    This is a report. He's not "springing" new regulations on anyone. He doesn't have the authority, (or at least I wouldn't think he does) to unilaterally cut onyone's budget. It's his study, his proposal, why should it be manipulated by the council?

  3. Hmmmmm. Changes being proposed and she didn't have any input to those changes. She's upset. =[ At least she gets to vote on those changes.

    Now she knows how we feel when she makes changes in the 46th ward and doesn't solicit any real public input (except when she has meetings with groups that already support everything she does). Boohoo, Helen. Boohoo.

    But not to fret. I'm sure our predictable city council will vote it down out of spite, regardless of whether of the proposed changes are good or not. Unfortunately, we in the 46th ward never got to vote on your changes. We only have a vote at election time. Is it February yet?

  4. Bradley,

    The issue isn't that new regulations are going to be unilaterally enacted by the IG.

    The issue is that (in Helen's mind) Council should have, at the very least, been presented with the report prior to it becoming public.

  5. We want transparency, right? Well, then the public should not have delayed access to a report that City Council gets. City Council will keep up the status quo until embarrassed to change. I wish it was different, but it isn't.

  6. Rats. Bradley - didn't mean for my response to you to come across as being curt.

    Apologies if it did. No ill will intended, whatsoever.

  7. Joe Ferguson is a stand-up guy. I really feel for him in that people are making this personal. Way to bury your heads in the sand, City Council!

    The report is akin to what the Congressional Budget Office does for Congress. Surely all of the back-of-the-envelope figurin' that City Council did regarding the meter lease suggests that a through review such as this is needed. We are facing a $1 billion deficit next year. Surely City Council doesn't view themselves as a braintrust that could come up with a similar document do they??

  8. Yo, thank you for the link. An interesting read indeed