On Thursday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel met with City of Chicago of department leaders and their employees to discuss the progress of current efficiency initiatives aimed at improving city services, achieving cost savings and streamlining operations.
“I commend these departments for the real progress they are making,” said Mayor Emanuel. “The entire city government should be focused on delivering better services to Chicago’s taxpayers at a lower cost; for our city to be the most competitive in the nation, our government needs to be as effective and efficient as it can be. These departments and agencies are doing that.”
The meeting came on the heels of an announcement that Chicago will receive an investment of $2 million a year for three years from Bloomberg Philanthropies to create an Innovation Delivery Team tasked with developing and implementing new solutions to improve the efficiency of City government, namely in the areas of time in line for permitting and licensing, and the energy costs faced by homeowners.
During a visit to the Water Management Jardine facility as part of his ongoing outreach with city departments, Mayor Emanuel received progress reports from Water Management Commissioner Thomas Powers, General Services and Fleet Management Commissioner David Reynolds, Chancellor of the City Colleges Cheryl Hyman, Chief Technology Officer John Tolva, and several city employees from those agencies.
The Commissioners and employees detailed improvements they’ve achieved in their departments. Highlights from their reports include:
City Colleges of Chicago:
• Identified $30 million through reductions in operating and administrative costs and has invested that in student learning.
• Hired a full-time Inspector General that has allowed the agency to crack down more aggressively on cases of fraud and abuse.
• Proposed a fiscal year 2012 budget that reduces executive management by 10 percent, implemented a hiring freeze and increased procurement efficiencies and increased energy efficiency initiatives.
Department of General Services and Fleet Management:
• Will save $1.81 million through reduction of City’s light duty vehicle fleet by more than 75 vehicles and switching 250 city-owned vehicles to leases.
• Will optimize real estate use through better alignment of staffing and service delivery
• Developing long-term real estate strategy to consolidate operations and reduce occupancy costs; reduce building leases and maximize use of city-owned buildings.
Mayor’s Office of Technology:
• Published city data on the Internet on a weekly basis allowing citizens to examine operations of city government find efficiencies
• Launched an application creation contest, Apps for Metro Chicago that provides technology entrepreneurs with the raw materials to help make the city more efficient.
• Posting performance dashboards for city services on a weekly basis to better ensure accountability and efficiency.
• Decreasing time on FOIA request fulfillment, reducing the cost of processing requests.
• Developing analytics projects to uncover efficiencies throughout city government.
Department of Water Management:
• Implementing new technology to map and schedule repairs, reducing time between jobs and response times.
• Implementing new technology to track job completion that has resulted in job completions being 25 to 78 percent faster than 2010.
• Lining sewers and catch basins with new resin that saves 75 percent on the costs of excavation and replacement and allows for less disruption and noise in residential communities.