According to Transparency International, "As a principle, public officials, civil servants, the managers and directors of companies and organisations, and board trustees have a duty to act visibly, predictably and understandably to promote participation and accountability and allow third parties to easily perceive what actions are being performed." Right on!
You might wonder what the principle of transparency has to do with anything, at least in Chicago. A reader emailed to let us know our links to the CPS Supplier Reports were not working. Sure enough, there's not one CPS Supplier Report to be found online. These reports
list listed awards to vendors not found in the Contract Award Report. WCT enjoyed browsing the vendors in the Suppliers Doing Business with the Chicago Public Schools Report because it was a clear list of how much money was going to which profiteer, kick-back artist, and scammer cashing in on CPS and taxpayers. Thanks to such reports, it was obvious who the biggest and best shakedown artists infiltrating CPS were.
Let's time travel, reader. In 2011 Rahm Emanuel made a transparency pledge to, "...make the city government more accessible to everybody," and, "to create the most open, accountable, and transparent government the City of Chicago has ever seen." Ironically, any evidence of Emanuel speaking these words has been removed from the internet, so WCT has to rely on references to this statement. WCT also assumes the transparency pledge was strictly a first-term pledge.
In a February 2012 Tribune interview, Rahm Emanuel used some form of the word transparent 19 times. A sample:
" I did talk about transparency and I feel — to what I said — I am achieving it. Achieving, not achieved. And I don't put any period at the end of the sentence. This is only nine months into it [Emanuel administration], but there is no doubt given the backlog of potentiality from a transparency standpoint, I am making government information available, I am making sure people have access to it, I am bringing back a level of trust."
Let's see where Rahm's "backlog of potentiality from a transparency standpoint" has brought us. In August 2015 the city finances are shredded, Chicago Public Schools in disarray, and pensions disappeared. Residents would like to know exactly how the city has accrued such a sizable debt, where the money went, and why it keeps going. Documents, like the Supplier Report, while maddening to read, clearly show whose pockets are getting lined.
Harkeing back to Rahm's transparency pledge, WCT emailed the CPS Purchasing Department inquiring about the missing reports.
The legalese response: "This report used to be required by a city ordinance, but that ordinance was repealed and the report is no longer legally required. We actually took the link down from the website quite a while ago after the ordinance was repealed, but we learned recently that the direct link still worked, even though the data was stale or incorrect. We recently have removed the old file to eliminate the confusion, as it was not accurate."
Accuracy! Obeying the law! Non-confusion! Suddenly, City Hall and CPS have taken it upon themselves to not confuse people who are seeking day-ta, stale as it might be. Yes, let's remove the information so nobody is confused. Let's get all revisionist and hide information, substituting one piece of nonsense for another. God forbid anybody know anything in case they ask questions or attempt to hold the people doling out the money accountable.
This must be an acute onset of Confusion Concern, as there is a long history of Chicago's confusion-inducing decisions:
October 16, 2009 headline: Calendar confusion--Or Citywide Chaos
May 23, 2013 headline: Confusion follows CPS school closing decision
February 24, 2015 headline: Confusion continues over standardized-testing in Chicago
May 24, 2015 headline: CPS forgot 22 schools in estimate for Aramark at a cost of $7M
Fortunately, for those of us who don't mind being confused, the internet is crawled frequently and pages cached (saved). As our Thought Partners would chirp, "daaay-ta!" Here are the cached Supplier Reports (copy and paste into browser) so you may be predictably, visibly, and understandably angered: