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Mayor decides to re-bid city’s lucrative red-light camera contract

A pedestrian walks past red light camerfacing north N. Western Ave. across street from Lane Tech High School Monday Feb.

A pedestrian walks past a red light camera facing north on N. Western Ave. across the street from Lane Tech High School Monday, Feb. 6, 2012, in Chicago. | John J. Kim~Sun-Times

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Updated: February 12, 2013 2:45PM

Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration decided Thursday to re-bid Chicago’s lucrative red-light camera contract but extend it six months to give the city’s inspector general time to complete his investigation of the current vendor.

Reflex Traffic Systems was barred from competing for yet another cash-rich contract to install speed cameras around schools and parks after a news report disclosed the Arizona company’s relationship with a former city official charged with overseeing the contract.

The Chicago Tribune reported that Redflex had given a lucrative contract to a friend of the former city official and that the company had picked up the tab for the former city official’s stay at a luxury hotel.

The stories prompted Inspector General Joe Ferguson to open an investigation.

On Thursday, a spokesman for the city’s Department of Procurement Services disclosed plans to re-bid the red-light contract when it expires Jan. 31 but extend it six months to allow a “full procurement and selection process to take place.”

The competition will start with a “request-for-information” from potential vendors, followed by a “request-for-proposals” (RFP).

Spokesman Bill McCaffrey said he’s not certain whether Reflex will be allowed to bid. That will depend on the outcome of Ferguson’s investigation.

Red-light cameras were gradually installed at accident-prone Chicago intersections, beginning in 2003. The cameras pumped out a high of 791,111 tickets in 2009, before dropping in recent years to 763,419 in 2010 and 662,046 in 2011.

Redflex’s Illinois lobbying team includes Michael J. Kasper, a lawyer who defended Emanuel in efforts to knock him off the mayoral ballot. The firm’s city lobbyists include former Ald. Mark Fary (12th), husband of Rosmarie S. Andolino, Emanuel’s aviation commissioner.

Another Emanuel ally, public affairs consultant Greg Goldner, also has worked for Redflex.

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