Chicago closes hired truck program

| 2/16/2005

Chicago Mayor Richard Daley has ended the city’s controversial and scandal-ridden hired truck program, the mayor’s office announced earlier this month.

In addition, the mayor said in a statement that he would ban contributions to his campaign from those doing business with the city.

In his announcement regarding the truck program, Daley said that “despite our best efforts at reform, it is still not working as it should,” and that he had asked his staff “to examine every option that will enable us to continue to deliver this service, end the abuses and maintain our commitment to hire women and minority-owned businesses and city residents.”

“Anyone who violates the rules and regulations governing contracts or any other aspect of city business deserves the harshest possible punishment,” Daley said. “While it is impossible to guarantee the integrity of every single employee or contractor, when abuses show up repeatedly within a program or agency, it’s a failure of the system and of my administration.”

Under the hired truck program, some of the city’s hauling duties were contracted to private companies, some of whom received the work in a no-bid situation. So far, 17 city workers are charged with criminal offenses in connection with the hired truck scandal, most for either taking or receiving payments in exchange for city work, The Associated Press reported.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that a number of the firms in the program gave generously to the campaigns of Daley and one of his brothers. In addition, the newspaper said that a quarter of the city’s hired truck money went to companies operating out of the city’s 11th Ward, a Daley stronghold.