Several stories in the news recently about developments in how the city does business have a somewhat hidden thread: They are products of the mayor’s 21st Century Commission.
* “Daley Farms Out Screening of Minority Firms,” in which the city will rely on others to certify women and minority ownership for set-aside contracts.
* “Women’s Advocates Fight Daley Merger Plan,” in which the city’s Office of Domestic Violence would be tucked inside the much larger – and bureaucratized – Human Services Department.
* And, near as I can tell, “Porch Inspections Taper Off,” in which some building owners will be allowed to “self-certify” their own inspections.
The mayor’s commission is also reportedly considering recommending privatizing garbage collection.
So just what is the 21st Century Commission? Let’s take a look.
“A blue-ribbon panel will spend the next year studying strategies to streamline city government and find ways to stretch the public dollars needed to run it, Mayor Richard Daley announced Thursday,” the Tribune reported last August. “The formation of the 21st Century Commission comes at a time when the city is confronted with a projected $217 million funding shortfall for 2008 and, beyond that, long-term financial challenges.”
A recent city press release puts it this way: “Daley established the ’21st Century Commission’ last fall to review the fundamental scope and structure of city government as it exists today and make recommendations for how to better manage it, provide the new or different services Chicagoans will demand in the decades ahead and do it all more efficiently to protect taxpayers.”
The commission is comprised of 22 people who have – according to the city – met in whole or in part more than 35 times. Here are the members.
* Sarah Pang, Senior Vice President, Corporate Communications, CNA
* Bennett J. Johnson III, Director, Office of Budget and Management, City of Chicago
* Dr. Warrick L. Carter, President, Columbia College Chicago
* Gery Chico, Partner, Chico & Nunes, PC
* Janet Froetscher, President and CEO, United Way of Metropolitan Chicago
* Jeanne Gang, Principal and Founder, Studio Gang Architects
* Jack Hartman, President, The Rise Group
* Amy S. Hilliard, Founder/President and CEO, The ComfortCake Company, LLC
* Bill Kaplan, Co-founder and CEO, Senior Lifestyle Corporation
* Reverend Joseph Kyles, Founder and Pastor, Heirs of the Promise Church
* Dr. Stefanie Lenway, Dean, UIC College of Business Administration
* John Livingston, Managing Partner, McKinsey & Company
* Dr. Jo Ann Long, Founder and Senior Pastor, New Covenant Life Church
* Joseph A. DeLopez, Chief of Police, Winnetka, and former Deputy Superintendent, Chicago Police Dept.
* Lester McKeever, Managing Principal, Washington, Pittman & McKeever, LLC
* Lawrence Msall, President, The Civic Federation
* Juan Rangel, CEO, United Neighborhood Organization (UNO)
* Jacqueline Reed, President and CEO, Westside Health Authority
* Frank Spula, President, Polish National Alliance
* Jerry Stermer, President, Voices for Illinois Children
* Barbara Stewart, Senior Vice President, State and Local Government Relations, JP Morgan Chase
* Thomas Villanova, President, Chicago and Cook County Building and Construction Trades Council