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Daily Whale Originals

State House committee expresses concern about former Metra CEO’s severance package

Thursday’s House committee meeting about the separation package given to former Metra CEO Alex Clifford was nothing like the quiet, sedate affair conducted by the RTA board the day before.

Members of the Illinois House of Representatives mass transportation committee made their displeasure with the severance agreement apparent from the start of the meeting and grilled Metra’s lawyer and board chairman about it. Clifford received a severance package that could be worth $718,000 after he resigned in June when it was apparent that he would not receive a new contract.

Illinois wind farms to provide more electricity to consumers

Illinois wind farms will provide five percent of the electricity supplied through Chicago’s municipal aggregation program with Integrys Energy Services, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced Tuesday.

In a mayoral press release, Emanuel said his administration negotiated with energy suppliers to come up with the deal, which doubles the amount of wind energy the city’s residents and businesses received through ComEd.

Pension committee chairman says no pension bill by July 9

The chairman of the legislative conference committee that is working to develop legislation to solve Illinois’s public pension crisis said Wednesday that it is not possible to come up with a responsible bill by the July 9 deadline set by Gov. Pat Quinn.

At the committee’s second public meeting Wednesday morning, state Sen. Kwame Raoul (D-Chicago) said actuaries will not be able to score the conference committee’s ultimate proposal by the deadline.

“There is no way to get them done by July 9,” Raoul stated at the start of the meeting.

LSC members organize against proposed 2013-14 CPS school budgets

A coalition representing approximately 30 Chicago Public Schools Local School Councils met on Tuesday morning at Blaine Elementary School to voice their displeasure with proposed 2013-14 CPS school budgets, which they say will result in major personnel cuts.

Daley calls for campaign cash ban when state legislature is in session

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Bill Daley proposed on Monday a total ban on campaign contributions for statewide races while the Illinois General Assembly is in session.

“Raising money while the legislature is in session raises a very bad and wrong message,” Daley said at a press conference in Chicago, adding that the practice is partially responsible for “a crisis of confidence” that Illinois government currently faces. 

Lang pitches proposal in first pension reform committee hearing

The first meeting of the General Assembly conference committee established to develop a pension reform bill lasted four-and-a-half hours on Thursday and attracted an overflow crowd to a large committee room at the Michael Bilandic building in downtown Chicago.

Axelrod talks new U of C institute, U.S. Supreme Court rulings

David Axelrod, former top strategist for President Barack Obama, spoke at a City Club of Chicago luncheon Thursday on topics ranging from his new role as director of the University of Chicago’s Institute of Politics to this week’s U.S. Supreme Court decisions.


Preckwinkle projects $152 million deficit in 2014 preliminary budget

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle released on Thursday a preliminary budget for the county’s next fiscal year, which includes an expected $152.1 million operating deficit.

The deficit is driven by $166 million in cost increases related to employee healthcare benefits, personnel and non-personnel spending, according to a press release from Preckwinkle’s office.

This year’s rollback of the county’s 0.25 percent sales tax accounts and a recent reduction in the non-titled use tax will lead to an estimated $60 million in lost revenue.

City Colleges chancellor outlines goals for 2018

While speaking Monday at a City Club of Chicago luncheon to an audience that included Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, City Colleges of Chicago Chancellor Cheryl Hyman outlined targets that the system hopes to reach by 2018.

CTA to conduct Blue Line infrastructure update study

The Chicago Transit Authority announced on Thursday it plans to conduct a study to determine the need for infrastructure updates to the Blue Line track along the Eisenhower Expressway.