February 2, 2012
State and local governments across the nation increasingly are using alternative service delivery efforts, known as public-private partnerships (P3s) to provide a wide variety of services, from printing to janitorial services to major infrastructure projects. The reasons for moving to a P3 framework range from reducing operational costs, outsourcing internal service functions or obtaining one-time infusions of cash for large scale asset leases. Many of these transactions, such as the City of Chicago’s 2009 long-term lease of its parking meters, have been controversial. The Civic Federation regularly comments on Illinois P3s, including an article in the June 2011 issue of the Government Finance Review on “The Chicago Experience: a P3 Checklist” and an issue brief detailing the Federation’s policy positions on alternative service delivery (Alternative Service Delivery: A Civic Federation Issue Brief).
This spring, the Civic Federation, in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, is pleased to announce a half-day conference on the subject of P3s entitled, “Beyond Parking Meters: the Future of Public-Private Partnerships in Illinois.” Scheduled for March 14, 2012 at the Federal Reserve Bank, the conference will convene expert panelists to discuss the actual experience of governments working with the private sector. The goal of the event is to provide state and local governments with actionable ideas on alternatives to their current delivery of services.
The event will feature Robert Rivkin, General Counsel of the U.S. Department of Transportation, as the keynote luncheon speaker. Mr. Rivkin is counsel to Secretary Ray LaHood and serves as the Department’s Chief Legal Officer, with authority to resolve all legal questions concerning the Department’s policies, programs, over 55,000 employees and its $78 billion budget. In addition to his experience at the federal level, Mr. Rivkin has served in the private sector as a former Deputy General Counsel at Aon and partner at Schiff Hardin, L.L.P. He was also General Counsel for the Chicago Transit Authority and Director of Programs and Policy for the City of Chicago’s Law Department.
Dr. Charles Wheelan will provide opening remarks for the forum, outlining the discussion for the day and providing attendees with an orientation to public-private partnerships. Dr. Wheelan is Senior Lecturer at the Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago with experience in academia, journalism and policy. He is a former director of public policy and communications for Chicago Metropolis 2020 (now Metropolis Strategies) and was a member of the Chicago Council on Global Affairs Emerging Leaders Class of 2008 that examined the privatization of public infrastructure.
The first panel of the conference, entitled “Does Managed Competition Generate Better Service?” will focus on the experience of cities implementing competitive service delivery initiatives. Panel two, “Long-Term Asset Leases: Beyond the Parking Meters,” will discuss several aspects of long-term asset leases, including financing, valuation and implementation. Speakers will focus not only on the lessons learned from past P3 initiatives but also on how to use P3s to make government more efficient and accountable.
Registration for the forum will begin soon. If you are interested in attending, please email Damian Torres-Botello or call (312) 201-8841. More information, including pricing and location, is available at civicfed.org/events.