SUNSHINE CHICAGO 2019

In 2011, Gery Chico introduced and fought for the Sunshine Chicago platform to promote transparency and more ethical behavior in city government. While the city has done a better job in this area – it has miles to go before it will be able to give Chicagoans the government it deserves.

Eight years later, Gery is expanding on his Sunshine Chicago platform by drawing very clear lines for elected officials to abide by and also be strengthening the authorities responsible for enforcing the rules. 

1) End aldermanic prerogative: As mayor, I will end the outdated and problematic system of “aldermanic prerogative,” where local aldermen have near-total control over zoning, permits and licenses in their wards. Chicago already has several boards and departments, such as the Chicago Plan Commission, the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Department of Planning, the Department of Buildings and others. These entities work hard to incorporate community feedback into city planning and development. We should get out of their way and let them do their work.

2) Ban on all outside income. The position of alderman has not been a part-time position for decades. City council members are paid like full time public servants and it is time they be treated like it. As mayor, I will enact an ordinance following federal guidelines, banning almost all outside income. Aldermen are free to write as many books as they please, but they will no longer be able to be hired and paid by private special interests while they are serving in the city council as elected representatives.

3) Chicago’s  Inspector General and Board of Ethics shall oversee all ethics-related matters. As I said in 2011, for far too long, city “ethics” rules have been a hodgepodge of overlapping departments – often with no clear enforcement mechanism. As mayor, I will consolidate all ethics regulation and enforcement under the Inspector General. I will also be supporting legislation to have the Inspector General have oversight responsibility over the city council. The Inspectors General who have served the city have done so with integrity. The office is ideal for enforcing a consolidated code of ethics for the entire city government; legislative and executive branches.

4) Term limits for city elected officials. Term limits are essential. Some wards with long-serving incumbents have changed over time, and their new voters should be afforded a chance for new representation. Additionally, it is a sad reality that far too often we have seen long-serving aldermen abuse their position to profit themselves. As mayor, I will introduce and support an ordinance to limit Chicago aldermen to three terms. While city should have continuity of service, 12 years is a reasonable limit that allows for the building and transition of institutional knowledge.