Aldermen create independent budget office, then let it languish
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter March 18, 2014 5:29PM
Alderman Ameya Pawar was the chief sponsor of creating an independent budget office, and three months later, he's frustrated that nothing has been done to get the office off the ground. | Sun-Times File Photo
Updated: April 20, 2014 6:34AM
Three months ago, Chicago aldermen created a $485,000-a-year independent budget office to provide them with expert advice on mayoral spending, programs and privatization.
Sponsors hailed the move as a step toward making the City Council the separate and co-equal branch of government it’s supposed to be.
They bragged that Chicago was only the fourth major city in the nation to take that step — and the first to do so without a referendum. They called it essential if aldermen are to do their part to help solve the city’s pension crisis.
Three months later, nothing has happened.
Aldermen have not chosen the new, $130,000-a-year City Council Financial Analyst charged with running the office and hiring staff. That’s the job former Ald. Helen Shiller (46th) has been angling for.
They haven’t even chosen the selection committee to pick that person.
Ald. Ameya Pawar (47th), chief sponsor of the new office backed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, acknowledged that he’s frustrated by the delay and champing at the bit to get started.
“I spent the better part of 2013 working on this. I want to get it going. If this office isn’t in place, I’m going to have a tough time voting on the budget. This is a priority for a lot of people,” Pawar said this week.