City Council Approves Changes to Council Rules

By: Ashmar Mandou

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - BusinessThe Chicago City Council on Wednesday approved changes proposed by Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot to revise City Council’s Rules of Order and Procedure and created new City Council committees. “As a candidate, I pledged to bring an end to aldermanic prerogative and usher in a new era of transparency and accountability at every level of city government, and as Mayor, I am working with City Council to do just that,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “While there is still work to be done to increase transparency and enact additional ethics reforms, I am proud that we have immediately taken steps to create a stronger and more accountable government.” The City Council approved a revised Rules of Order and Procedure proposed by Mayor Lightfoot to build on her efforts to change the way City Council does business. Specifically, the rule changes:

• Broadcast proceedings of all City Council and City Council Committee meetings be livestreamed and that meeting recordings also be available online.

• Ensure that Aldermen with conflicts of interest not only recuse themselves from voting, but also recuse themselves from participating in or presiding over debate of the item in question.

• Require that materials provided to a Committee Chair during a Committee meeting be made public on the Office of the City Clerk’s website.

Additionally, Mayor Lightfoot’s rule changes created two new committees. The Committee on Ethics & Government Oversight will head new initiatives that will make good governance and transparency an exclusive priority in all aspects of city legislation and proceedings. The Committee will work closely with the City’s Board of Ethics and Inspector General and has jurisdiction over matters like lobbyist registration, financial disclosures, conflicts of interest, sexual harassment, campaign finance and regular public hearings on ethics issues.

The Committee on Contracting Oversight and Equity will focus on matters relating to the City’s Department of Procurement Services and matters concerning Business Enterprises owned by People with Disabilities, Disadvantaged Business Enterprises, Minority Business Enterprises, Veteran Business Enterprises and Women Business Enterprises. The committee will lead the way in ensuring city contracting is reflective of the diversity of Chicago’s business community and will hold regular hearings reviewing the City’s efforts in diverse hiring and equity. The new rules and establishment of new committees will take effect immediately.

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