Mayor Releases New Infrastructure Trust Ordinance

The Chicago Infrastructure Trust will will now have an alderman on its board of directors and require City Council approval of its projects, two of the most common aldermanic criticisms of the original plan. 

According to a revised copy of the ordinance establishing the trust, provided by the mayor's office, an alderman will be one of five voting members on the board. The trust will now be explicitly in compliance with a number of transparency and ethics rules. 

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The ordinance will be submitted to the City Council finance committee, which meets on Monday. The ordinance is expected to be voted on by the full Council on Wednesday. 

In addition to City Council approval and an aldermanic presence in the trust, the new ordinance requires: 

  • board members to recuse themselves if they have a financial conflict of interest with deals by the trust.
  • the trust to comply with the Freedom of Information Act and the Illinois Open Meetings Act, and post its minutes and disclosure statements online. The previous version only required them to follow "comparable" rules.
  • the trust to comply with the city's minority- and women-owned business requirements.

The previous ordinance appointed Boeing CFO James A. Bell to be the trust's first voting member. He is not included in the revised version. The new version also asks the trust to develop "financing structures" for its projects.

Many of the revisions echo a list of changes requested by Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) and Ameya Pawar (47th) in a Chicago Tribune  editorial on Monday.

The two aldermen asked for all trust projects to be publicly bid, but no mention of public bidding appears in the revised ordinance.  Dowell and Pawar also asked for the trust to follow the same economic disclosure rules as all third-parties doing business with the city. The revised version still only asks for disclosures "substantially similar"  to those used by third-parties. 

At least 11 aldermen said they would vote against the infrastructure trust unless these transparency and oversight concerns were addressed. Ald. Michele Smith (43rd) penned a 32-question letter Wednesday asking for more time and information from the mayor.

View the ordinance below, with the revised portions highlighted:

Click here to read the full ordinance, with annotations

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