Chief of Staff Kurt Summers will appear on a panel of municipal financial experts and municipal managers on June 7th at 10:45 am CST. Sponsored by Bloomberg Financial, the event is titled “Bloomberg State & Municipal Finance”. Part of a day-long event taking place in Chicago’s Financial District, Summers’ segment will be live-Tweeted at https://twitter.com/BBGLINK, or at the hashtag #BBMunis.
Following is a synopsis of the segment featuring Kurt Summers:
New Fiscal Sheriffs in Town
The City of Chicago and Cook County operated for generations as separate fiefdoms joined mainly by their reputation for graft and employing armies of patronage workers. The new age of fiscal austerity has forced two blunt-talking, rookie political executives – Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Cook County President Toni Preckwinkle – to work together like never before to address the litany of economic challenges bequeathed to them. For the chief executive of the nation’s second-largest county, that included a $487 million deficit and a jail system bloated with 1,000 nonviolent offenders. For the mayor of the nation’s third-largest city, it’s more than $15 billion in unfunded pension obligations that recently prompted Moody’s Investors Service to put a negative outlook on Chicago’s credit. Emanuel, whose biggest challenge is to find new sources of revenue, is pushing a public-private partnership to upgrade buildings, transportation and utilities without going back on his campaign pledge not to privatize city assets the way his predecessor, Richard Daley, did with Chicago’s parking meters. Preckwinkle has laid off 800 employees and taken the politically risky step of urging the release of nonviolent inmates, most of them drug addicts. How are these two progressive pragmatists finding new ways to govern in this age of austerity? With declining populations and tax bases, how can they attract the investment needed to make the region thrive? Can their partnership in making city and county government work more efficiently be a laboratory for American metropolitan areas? And where is the opportunity amid this tumult for distressed investors?