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Maybe Madigan’s moves are a positive sign after all

Thursday, Jan 26, 2017

* I was starting to have some second thoughts this afternoon about being so harsh on Speaker Madigan’s statement yesterday and about Deputy Majority Leader Lang’s list of ideas.

Why? Because, once I thought about it some more, I realized these announcements could be seen as “markers” set down by Madigan. It’s the stuff he may want from a final deal. In that light, it shouldn’t be seen as a bad thing. It could very well be another step in the dance that must be taken before we’ll get to a deal.

And then, when I was deciding how I should write about this topic or if I should write about it at all, an e-mail suddenly landed in my in-box…

Speaker Michael J. Madigan, D-Chicago, has requested a legislative committee take up potential cost-cutting changes to the state’s procurement process offered by Gov. Bruce Rauner.

“Governor Rauner has proposed a series of changes to the state’s procurement process that could generate savings for the state, and I believe they are worth considering,” Madigan said. “I want to work with the governor to reduce the cost of state government while maintaining transparent and ethical conduct in contracting.”

Illinois enacted procurement reforms in 2009 following the impeachment of Gov. Rod Blagojevich. The reforms created a system of checks to reduce conflicts of interest, including the use of chief procurement officers, state purchasing officers, procurement monitors, and the Procurement Policy Board.

In a letter to state Rep. Al Riley, chairman of the House State Government Administration Committee, Madigan urged members of the committee to immediately begin vetting Rauner’s proposed changes to the state procurement code, and consider the governor’s proposal to streamline the process and reduce costs. In doing so, the committee will thoroughly vet the current procurement process and determine how the Legislature could eliminate unnecessary costs while ensuring ethical conduct.

“Considering these changes is an important step in making state government run more efficiently and at a lower cost to taxpayers, but also in fostering cooperation between the governor and the Legislature,” Madigan said. “The state’s procurement process must provide adequate protections for taxpayer dollars, but we must always be open to considering ways to implement this process with reduced cost.”

Usually whenever Madigan calls for a hearing on a gubernatorial idea, he’s planning to kill it. But today’s press release and the letter he sent to the committee’s chairman (click here) don’t seem to indicate that we’re in for yet another “fair trial before the hanging.”

So, anyway, let’s see where this goes.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

5 Comments
  1. - Oswego Willy - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 2:28 pm:

    I think when Madigan yesterday ha do his release and limited blowback on it, I felt that there’s things afoot trying to get “somewhere” at an end game.

    This continues to feed my hope.

    First the Governor saying in a speech I’d hope he’s say…

    … now Madigan, in back to back days, looking to Process

    Process. That’s the ball game now, and if it moves this stalling, I’m all about it.


  2. - Anonymous - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 3:01 pm:

    If you need a pr boost, finding ways to improve efficiencies (aka going after waste, fraud, and abuse) is an easy one. Actually making huge strides is a. It more difficult, but I’d applaud the attempt at least. Again, attacking W,F and A won’t get us to solvency, but it must be one critical element in the process. It demonstrates to taxpayers (some) politicians think integrity is important.


  3. - 47th Ward - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 3:22 pm:

    A fair chunk of the procurement code deals with incentives and set-aside requirements to assist minority-owned businesses (as female-owned and those owned by disabled people). So Riley probably won’t be eager to strip those provisions.

    There is some language about project labor agreements and prevailing wage too, and while I think Rauner has this in his sights, unless Madigan is trying to pin him down, I don’t see a majority of HDems voting to make those provisions voluntary.

    Another sizable chunk of the code deals with bidding procedures designed to lower costs and prevent fraud and abuse. Good procurement managers don’t need to follow so many rules, and they are indeed a burden. But history has shown time and again that some procurement managers can’t help themselves and public money gets mis-spent or stolen.

    “Procurement reform” is easier said than done. In total, it’s a complete mess. But this monstrosity was built up piece-by-piece over time and won’t be easy to un-do.


  4. - Chicagonk - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 4:02 pm:

    I’ll know that something has changed once Madigan starts talking about revenue. My hope is that this is a prelude to a serious discussion about necessary tax increases. The committee can score the proposals and when they inevitably fall way short of closing the budget gap, Madigan and Rauner can come to an agreement on how to bridge that gap with new revenue.


  5. - LessAnon? - Thursday, Jan 26, 17 @ 4:46 pm:

    A lot of procurement regulation - more specifically requirements - were put in place by the Blagojevich regime. Things that IDOT had been doing like design-build on a few projects and the limited use of project labor agreements during the previous administration were basically ended or reverse under Blago, in an effort to curry union favor wherever possible and stick it to non-union contractors. That’s all fine and good, except it increases the cost and can lower efficiency when it comes to design build. Some real savings could be found there if the Speaker will let it through. Not holding my breath, but the prospect is both unexpected and encouraging.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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