As a senior audit associate at
KPMG, I had been looking for a way to give back to Chicago, but I wanted to maximize that impact by using my financial knowledge and analytical skills to provide real value. I got my opportunity in January of 2015, when KPMG selected me for an externship with Civic Consulting Alliance.
My primary assignment was to calculate the financial impact of the recommendations in the initial report released by the Illinois State Commission on Criminal Justice, the body created by Governor Rauner to safely reduce the prison population by 25 percent by 2025.
The project was an excellent professional development experience. I created a cost model from the ground up
--- a first for me. (I also had to learn to discuss my findings in laymen's terms, as I was no longer surrounded by CPAs!) In the end, we succeeded in putting real dollar amounts to the initiatives that could completely revolutionize our criminal justice system for the better.
After my externship experience at Civic Consulting, I feel even more connected to Chicago and Illinois. Best of all, I brought my experience to bear in a way that helps to address the challenges facing my community. For that, I am very grateful to both Civic Consulting and KPMG.
Cook County's public safety agencies are going digital
Tracking individuals through the Cook County criminal justice system is no small task. For years, this was done using paper
--- but not for long. Last month, the Cook County Board of Commissioners approved a $2.3 million contract to create a digital platform connecting the county's public safety agencies, allowing them to exchange data securely using an enterprise service bus.
Civic Consulting Alliance and pro bono partner
DLA Piper began paving the way for this milestone more than two years ago. Civic Consulting and the legal professionals at DLA Piper worked through a complex process to define the legal agreements that would enable the agencies to exchange the right data in real time.
"Civic Consulting Alliance and DLA Piper w
ere vital in helping us create the framework to design a central system for sharing data between criminal justice agencies," said Simona Rollinson, CIO at the Cook County Bureau of Technology. "Because of their work, we are now on the verge of having a working data exchange that could tremendously improve the inner workings of the County justice system and bring with it greater efficiency and cost savings."
The initial contract includes two data exchanges: one between the State's Attorney and the Circuit Court Clerk (to expedite charging information) and one between the Clerk and the Cook County Sheriff (to expedite release information).
In November, the Procurement Reform Task Force released its report on best practices the City of Chicago and its sister agencies should implement to make contract management and procurement more uniform and cost effective. The report, developed with support from Mayer Brown LLP and Civic Consulting Alliance, includes 31 recommendations that will make procurement more efficient, saving the City money while also increasing transparency and accountability.
In September, the new pretrial risk assessment tool for Cook County Jail--- designed to decrease the number of nonviolent offenders in the jail while maintaining public safety--- was used to evaluate 97.2 percent of eligible defendants at Cook County Central Bond Court, up from 52.7 percent using the previous tool in May 2014.
Last month, Civic Consulting and partners from the Duchossois Group facilitated a two-day Lean workshop with the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) to improve the architectural and engineering consultant agreement process. We estimate that the new process developed in the workshop will help IDOT execute engineering consultant contracts in one-third of the time--- cutting down from 150 days to fewer than 50.
Questions? Comments? Interested in writing a guest article? Please email
Stuart Henige with any newsletter feedback.
Civic Consulting Alliance is an affiliate of the Civic Committee of the Commercial Club of Chicago.