On May 27, 2015, Mayor Rahm Emanuel convened the Chicago Procurement Reform Task Force (PRTF). The Chief Procurement Officer (CPO) and the Inspector General (OIG) for the City of the Chicago co-chaired PRTF, which included the CEO, Executive Director, or Chancellor of six of the City’s sister agencies: the Chicago Public Schools (CPS), the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA), the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA), the City Colleges of Chicago (CCC), the Chicago Park District (Parks), and the Public Building Commission (PBC).
PRTF undertook a six-month project to identify opportunities for these entities (collectively, the Participating Members) to implement, in a uniform manner, best practices for awarding, managing, and overseeing public contracts. The Task Force’s mission was to maximize operational efficiency, increase accountability, and economize public funds.
On November 17, 2015, PRTF reported its findings, grouped into five categories representing the essential principles of government procurement: competition, efficiency, transparency, integrity, and uniformity. The Task Force also made recommendations designed to advance these principles, a 31-point blueprint for refining and standardizing the Participating Members’ procurement operations. The recommendations in the 2015 Report of the Chicago Procurement Reform Task Force (2015 PRTF Report) fall into three categories: the first 15 were proposed for “immediate” implementation (i.e., by March 30, 2016); the next 12 for “mid-term” implementation (by December 31, 2016); and last 4 for “long-term” implementation (in “2017 and beyond”).
Pursuant to an intergovernmental agreement executed under the authority of an ordinance passed by City Council and approved by Mayor Emanuel in January 2016, the Participating Members fulfilled PRTF’s Recommendation #1 by creating a committee of CPOs (CPO Committee), and charging it with addressing the Task Force’s recommendations, tracking their implementation, and issuing quarterly and annual reports. The ordinance also directed the Members to begin work on Recommendation #5 by establishing a committee of Chief Information Officers (the Chicago Government IT Coordination Committee, or ITCC) to manage the technical aspects of the implementation process, and directed OIG to prepare and publish, within 90 days following the issuance of each Annual Report, an independent evaluation of the Members’ progress toward implementing the recommendations
On March 1, 2017, the CPO Committee issued the 2016 Annual Report of the Chicago Procurement Reform Task Force (Annual Report), indicating that the Participating Members had addressed, in whole or part, 27 of the 31 recommendations. On May 30, 2017, OIG issued its First Annual Progress Report on the Chicago Procurement Reform Task Force (Annual Progress Report). Our review concluded that the Members had fully implemented 7 of the PRTF recommendations, formulated policies and processes for implementing 7 others, partially implemented an additional 13, and not yet begun to address the remaining 4. OIG suggested that the CPO Committee set target completion deadlines for the 24 open recommendations.
On March 1, 2018, the CPO Committee issued the 2017 Annual Report, indicating that the Participating Members had fully implemented 18 recommendations and partially implemented the remaining 13. On May 30, 2018, OIG issued its Second Annual Progress Report. Our review concluded that the Members had fully implemented 14 of the recommendations and partially implemented 15 others, and that 2 of the recommendations remained in the “process completed; implementation ongoing” category. The Second Annual Progress Report announced OIG’s intention to request the assistance of the inspectors general for the other Participating Members to assess whether the implemented recommendations have been fully and consistently integrated into the Members’ day-to-day operations.
On March 6, 2019, the CPO Committee issued the 2018 Annual Report, indicating that the Participating Members had fully addressed 23 recommendations and partially addressed the remaining 8. Prior Annual Progress Reports were based upon a comparison of representations from the Participating Members with the PRTF recommendations required to be implemented pursuant to the IGA approved by the City Council. In preparing this Third Annual Progress Report, OIG solicited the assistance of and worked in coordination with the IGs of the Participating Members to more closely assess whether represented actions have, in fact, been undertaken. Based on that joint-IG undertaking, we conclude that the Participating Members have fully implemented 13 of the recommendations and partially implemented 9 others, and that the remaining 9 recommendations, which are designated as completed, have not yet been fully and consistently operationalized across the board.