City OKs rules on privatization deals

By John Byrne Chicago Tribune

Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Wednesday hailed passage of his ordinance to require the city to take various steps before approving big-ticket privatization of municipal assets as an important moment “for the future of this great city,” even as questions remain about how effective it will be to prevent debacles like the parking meter lease.

The City Council adopted Emanuel’s privatization rules without dissent. They require public meetings, an independent financial review and an explanation of the benefits of proposed privatizations before a City Council vote. But they apply only to privatization deals for assets worth at least $400 million and services worth at least $3 million, and they will require the city to set aside only 10 percent of the proceeds from any such lease.

The vote to permanently set up a process will shift some responsibility for vetting possible privatizations to aldermen, the mayor said.

“All of us, collectively, will be on the line to make it with our eyes open, with the information available and the time to evaluate that information, to make a judgment and a decision with all the information available and public,” Emanuel said.

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