After years of controversy and a continuing federal
investigation, the city of Chicago has plans to put an end to its
scandal-ridden Hired Truck program earlier than expected.
On Friday, May 5, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley announced that
the program, which outsourced construction and hauling work to private trucking
firms in an attempt to reduce costs, will be shut down in October.
Officials had already announced that the program would be
shut down in February 2007, but the date was moved up by four months to help
squash controversy, the Chicago Tribune reported.
The city has slowly been phasing out the program during the
past few months. Once it’s officially abolished, 60
city-owned trucks will be purchased and 60 full-time drivers will be hired.
To date, 44 individuals have been charged in the ongoing
federal investigation into Hired Truck, in which trucking companies gave bribes
and political contributions to city employees in exchange for lucrative
contracts with the city. Thirty-six people have pleaded guilty or have been
found guilty. Twenty-two people – 18 of whom were city workers – have already
been sentenced, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.