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Mayor Richard M. Daley today announced further consolidations of City departments, a step aimed at streamlining government, avoiding duplication of functions, reducing costs and better supporting residents with high-quality services.
“To build an even more modern and diverse economy in Chicago, we are carrying out a comprehensive, long-term strategy to create new jobs and a secure future for all our residents,” Daley said in a City Hall news conference.
“But, especially during these tough times, many of those things can’t happen the way we want them to unless we manage city government as efficiently as possible,” he said.
In October, 2008, the City consolidated the functions of ten departments into four newly-created departments. The steps announced today build on those initiatives to maximize the resources available to deliver services and ensure that government works better for people and is easier to understand.
Daley announced that effective January 1, 2011, the City will:
- Consolidate the Departments General Services and Graphics. The move will produce efficiencies in providing security, custodial services and printed materials and several positions can be eliminated.
- Consolidate the Department of Cultural Affairs and the Mayor’s Office of Special Events, which are funded from the same source and have some common functions. Some positions can be eliminated.
- Consolidate the Departments of Community Development and Zoning and Land Use Planning to place all neighborhood development functions in one department. This builds on the efficiencies already captured by the Housing/Planning merger of 2008. In this consolidation, zoning inspectors will be moved to the Department of Buildings and some positions could be eliminated.
Daley said that to get ahead of its projected budget deficit, the City has taken numerous steps to cut spending and control costs. For example:
- Last week, he announced several new initiatives aimed at further controlling costs and transforming the structure of government by privatizing the management and execution of some City services.
- The City has cut non-safety and non-service spending by 6 percent across-the-board earlier this year to save about $11 million.
- In July, the City Council approved Daley’s proposal to allow partnerships with the City to sponsor and celebrate the bridge houses on the Chicago River downtown, which could generate millions of dollars per year.
- In June, Daley announced the City would auction 50 more city taxicab medallions to generate several million dollars in new revenue and increase the fleet.
- In April, Daley announced steps to save $13 million in the current City budget by doing such things as locking in $8 million in savings on natural gas purchases and saving almost $3 million on debt service.
- The City has negotiated a new contract with Exelon to provide electricity to the city that will save $15 million across all funds in 2011 as compared to last year.
- The City carried out two reviews of Police Department management that played a big role in being able to transfer 298 officers from desk jobs to street duty since last November.
“Without all the steps we've taken over the years to better manage government, the city's financial situation would be far worse today than it is. No one knows how long it will take for our revenues to rebound fully,” Daley said. “In the meantime, we must remain creative and deliver on our commitment to better manage government, do more with less and make government work better for people.
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