City contracts may be on Web soon

Rockford Alderman Dave Johnson (R-4), plans to submit a resolution Aug. 2 that would require all city contracts to be posted on its Web site. Johnson said he is introducing the proposal to make city business more transparent to citizens and accessible to potential project bidders.

He also wants committee meeting agendas and minutes posted on the Web. The city has three committees: finance; planning and development; and codes and regulations.

Johnson expects the action will result in greater numbers of contractors bidding on projects that will likely lower costs for tax-payers. As to the expense of implementing the proposal, Johnson said: “I can’t believe there would be any additional expense.”

He continued: “I think this would be beneficial—meaning more contractors would be able to access the information for bidding, which will probably result in more bidders, which will probably mean taxpayers will pay less for projects.”

In addition to posting contracts that are open for bid, Johnson envisions having a separate posting for contracts that have been awarded.

Johnson has been a Rockford alderman for decades, and is also Winnebago County Clerk. Should his resolution be approved, he hopes the county will follow Rockford’s lead.

The July 2004 issue of Chicago magazine reported that after a series of embarrassing scandals, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley responded by implementing actions to make city business more transparent. Specifically, the administration began posting city contracts on the Internet.

Daley also advocated an ordinance that fines unregistered lobbyists working to get the city’s business. Lobbyists working to get Rockford contracts do not have to register with the city.

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