Mayor Rahm Emanuel has had enough of Chicago Parking Meters, LLC as he announced this morning that he is enlisting the services of independent auditors to conduct periodic audits of the operational and financial management.
It was just last May Chicago Parking Meters LLC, sent a bill to the city of Chicago in the amount of roughly $14 million dollars, to which Mayor Rahm Emanuel took issue.
“Just because you send a bill, I’m not gonna ask taxpayers to pay it. There’s a new day here. I don’t know who they think they’re dealing with,” Mayor Emanuel said at that time.
Chicago Parking Meters LLC issued a statement on the audit to the Chicago City hall Examiner and said, “In compliance with our concession agreement with the City, Chicago Parking Meters LLC (CPM) has diligently submitted financial information to the City that is accurate and fair, and CPM stands by that information.”
CPM also added that “There are provisions in the concession agreement to help resolve these issues. We remain committed to following the provisions of our agreement with the City and conducting business in an accountable and responsible manner.”
CPM had no further comment on the issue at this time beyond the statement.
Last May Mayor Emanuel laid down the law to the Chicago Parking Meters LLC when he said, “First of all, I’m not gonna do it. Second of all, you owe information to justify it. And I don’t even think the information when you’re providing it is accurate. So I sent ’em a letter back. And let me say this: In the envelope wasn’t a check because I’m not doing it. We are not, just because you send a bill in, assuming I’m gonna have the taxpayers fork over money. They may assume that was how it was gonna work. But they’ve got another thing coming.”
The “another thing coming” is an independent audit, said the Mayor’s office said in a press release, that will be “part of an improved oversight and accountability of the parking meter contract and that comprehensive audits will be performed regularly.”
Chicago Parking Meters, LLC is not being singled out alone as audits will be conducted on the lakefront parking garages and the Skyway concession agreements on a periodic basis.
The reason for the audits, says Mayor Emanuel, is to “assure Chicagoans that the long-term contracts to manage City assets are being properly managed”
“To ensure we are responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars being paid to CPM, it is imperative this administration vigilantly exercise due diligence while effectively managing each contract. These comprehensive, regular audits will help ensure accountability and keep those behind the agreements honest and responsible,” said Mayor Emanuel.
CPM, a consortium of investors led by Morgan Stanley, has submitted invoices to the City
totaling more than $50 million. As soon as Mayor Emanuel took office, the new administration began rigorous enforcement of the contract and started regular trainings for the staff in departments. The administration has also established a new computer based reporting system through 311 that requires advanced notice for all street closures. In addition, the Department of Revenue now verifies all changes to the meter system made by City Council, including installing meters, removing meters, changing rates, and changes to hours of operation.
The audit – which outside consultants will start in November – will cover two areas: financial and operational. The audit is expected to include interviews with CPM’s CEO, CFO, representatives from its principal investor, Morgan Stanley, financial auditors, and senior Information Technology professionals; as well as key contractors. The audit will include a review of the following areas:
Contract management and compliance (including M/WBE and local hiring requirements) for both the Agreement and related key contractor agreements;
• Revenue reconciliation between Transactions and Collections records;
• Revenue recognition for Reserve Meters; and
• Management of the Operating Standards.
Depending on the initial review of these areas, the audits may be expanded to include
additional financial and operational processes.
“This administration will continue to fight any charges sent by CPM that we feel are not
accurate or justified. As I have said before, the City does not cut a check simply because we receive a bill,” the Mayor said reiterating what he had said previously.
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John is the author of an award-winning book, the 2010 Winner of the USA National Best Book award for African-American studies, published by The Elevator Group Mr. and Mrs. Grassroots: How Barack Obama, Two Bookstore Owners, and 300 Volunteers did it. Also available an eBook on Amazon. John is also a member of the Society of Midland Authors and is a book reviewer of political books for the New York Journal of Books