Emanuel introduces ethics reform task force

December 7, 2011 (CHICAGO)

At a morning news conference, Emanuel named four people to head up a special task force that will have four months to look around the country, take expert testimony and rewrite the city's ethics ordinance, which hasn't been updated since 1997.

The mayor argues that the current ordinance is outdated and vague and that it limits the city's ability to crack down on corruption and waste.

Some people believe it's no coincidence that Emaneul's announcement came on the same day that former Gov. Rod Blagojevich was being sentenced for corruption.

Emanuel's office, however, says the mayor has been working on the changes for a while. Emanuel says believes that creating a task force is the right thing to do, and it is necessary to clarify what he is calling "the rules of the road."

" I am not interested in a reform agenda sitting on the shelf. I am interested in enacting reform and change when necessary," said Emanuel.

"We're not doing this in reaction to something. We are proactively doing it. That is a big difference. I did not wait for something to happen. I am trying to get ahead of it to set clear rules," the mayor said.

The task force will be headed up by Cindi Canary, the former director of the Illinois Campaign for Political Reform.

"My colleagues and I look forward to taking a deep look at the ethics ordinance as it exists, looking at how it is put into practice, and recommending how it can be strengthened to ensure that all of the officials and employees of the city of Chicago are held to the highest standard," said Canary.

Other members of the task force will include a former state senator, a former federal prosecutor and an alderman.

At the end of the four months, the group will present its findings and make recommendations.

ABC7 is told no topic will be off limits.

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