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Latino State News

Mayor Emanuel Announces Nominees to the Chicago Infrastructure Trust Board

Five Nominees Represent Array of Experience in Infrastructure Finance and Economic Development in Public and Private Sectors

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced the inaugural board of the Chicago Infrastructure Trust, a first-of-its-kind infrastructure financing mechanism which was created earlier this year. The board, which includes five members, will be introduced to City Council later this month for approval.

“It is imperative that we have a board for the Chicago Infrastructure Trust that has the highest level of infrastructure and finance experience in the public and private sector,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Our nominees are professionals of the highest magnitude who will operate in a transparent fashion, and will bring to the board the strictest fiduciary and ethical standards. Their diverse experience will help ensure the Trust creates and undertakes projects that will be beneficial for taxpayers, while creating jobs and economic opportunity throughout the city.”

The members of the board are:

  -James Bell (Chair), Executive Vice President, Boeing Corporation (Retired)
  -Diana Ferguson, Former Chief Financial Officer, Sara Lee Foodservice; Former CFO, Chicago Public Schools
  -David Hoffman, Partner, Sidley Austin LLP
  -Alderman John Pope, 10th Ward
  -Jorge Ramirez, President, Chicago Federation of Labor

The members of the Trust’s board will be responsible for oversight of the Trust, working directly with the appropriate governing bodies of the City and its sister agencies to determine the best projects for the Trust to undertake, and to structure deals for consideration. The board of the Trust will additionally be responsible for overseeing the professional staffing of Trust and ensuring that the Trust is completely compliant with the Open Meetings Act and Freedom of Information Act, as is mandated in the ordinance which created it.

“The Trust presents an outstanding opportunity to undertake transformative infrastructure projects for the City of Chicago,” said James Bell. “I am honored to be a part of the group that will ensure the Trust will operate in an open, transparent and forthright manner as Chicago builds a 21st Century infrastructure network.”

“This idea has great potential but only if it is done the right way,” said David Hoffman. “Success will require at least four things: very strong transparency, oversight including from the Inspector General, full public deliberation, and decisions based on the merits, not connections or loyalties.  As a member of the board, I will always exercise my independent judgment and call things as I see them to try to ensure that the trust operates in an ethical, transparent, inclusive, and deliberate way.  I look forward to working with the other board members on behalf of the citizens of Chicago.”

“The Trust is going to create thousands of much needed jobs while fostering opportunity in our neighborhoods and our communities,” said Jorge Ramirez. “The Trust will put our residents back to work while building the infrastructure that will carry the city forward. This is a great situation for all involved.”

“I am confident that the Trust will be a valuable mechanism for all of the governing bodies in the City, including City Council,” said Alderman John Pope. “I look forward to working with my colleagues and the other governing boards to find crucial, innovative and transformative projects, and bring them to reality.”

“The Trust offers us a unique opportunity to combine the best of the public and private sector,” said Diana Ferguson. “These projects will give the city a chance to be at the leading edge of national infrastructure and prepare us to compete on a global stage through the 21st century.”

The first project that will be considered by the Trust will be Retrofit Chicago, a $225 million retrofitting of all buildings owned by the City. That project will be paid for by the savings realized form the retrofittings, which are expected to top $25 million a year.

The Chicago Infrastructure Trust passed the City Council in April by a vote of 41-7, after being introduced to Chicagoans on March 1 in a joint event between Mayor Emanuel and President Clinton.