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Report Card: Mayor Rahm Emanuel's First 100 Days

During his election campaign and throughout his first months in office, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has invited Chicagoans to hold him accountable as the city’s leader.

Well, here goes. 

The 72-page Transition Report is not the only way to measure progress on the part of the Emanuel administration, but it’s a checklist of sorts on what the new folks in charge think is critical - and what they say they can accomplish. 

"It will be a scorecard for the public to keep my administration accountable," Emanuel said when releasing his plan on May 10th. "It will be a scorecard for myself and my administration to keep us accountable."

Some of its points—indeed, a lot of them—are vague or hard to assess.  An example:

#26: “The City will accelerate the development of the multi-year plan, which will look at water meter installation and overhaul of water mains, in addition to incentives for permeable pavement, green infrastructure, rainwater re-use, among other options.”

It doesn’t say the plan is to be completed, or released, within 100 days. It merely states that the administration will "accelerate the development" of a plan. It’s a take-our-word-for-it goal — and one that's hard to grade.

What follows is a selection of key initiatives and our editorial team’s assessment of the progress made to date. In assessing the progress, we made every effort to be fair and precise — and made repeated calls to Emanuel’s office to verify specific points. 

In keeping with the mayor’s own statements, we placed a high premium on transparency.  Therefore, if the administration says it's completed a goal below, but hasn't provided evidence of it or it hasn’t been made public, we’ve judged the measure incomplete.

You can see the whole report here and make your own scorecard.  Let us know if you agree or what you’d add.  

And you can follow our entire series of reports on Mayor Emanuel’s first 100 days here

Fully achieved initiative
Partially achieved or on track
Incomplete or unconfirmed


































Our Government

Selected and graded six items out of 12 indexed initiatives.

# 1 Cut $75 million immediately
100 Days Goal

Structural changes totaling $75 million will be made to the current 2011 budget.

ProgressEmanuel signed executive order on first full day of his term, cutting $75 million from the 2011 budget.Grade


#3 Reform TIF
100 Days GoalTIF panel will launch. Within 100 days, the group will develop guidelines and processes to ensure TIF transparency, set standards for future TIF investments and develop measurable performance criteria.

The panel launched, and a public meeting has been held.

An Emanuel spokesperson says the guidelines the administration pledged to develop have been completed. They have not been released publicly. 


#4 Initiate Ethics Reform
100 Days GoalWith an executive order, the "revolving door" between government service and lobbying will close.
ProgressHours after his inauguration, Emanuel signed an executive order banning all mayoral appointees from lobbying their former colleagues for two years.Grade
#5 Set high standards for open participatory government to involve all Chicagoans
100 Days Goal

A searchable version of the city budget will be posted online, after a full review to ensure that its presentation is clear and easy to understand.


A searchable version of the city budget has been posted online, along with additional documents and previous fiscal budgets. According to a press release, "the administration has released more than 200 data sets on various city services and functions at the City’s Data Portal including city contract data from as far back as 1993, city employee salaries, and crime data for 2011. In addition, for increased accountability, the public can monitor the progress and performance of various city departments online at" 

However, the information available is fragmented and not presented in a way that’s clear and easy for budget amateurs to process or digest.

#8 Centralize, professionalize and reform procurement
100 Days GoalThe city will quantify and commit to procurement savings for the 2012 budget, based on an evaluation of everything it buys and a plan for process improvements and savings. Purchasing will be consolidated within the City.

A website,, is under construction and the administration has announced the implementation of reverse auctions and transparency in non-competitive contracting (press release 7/21/11). 

On Thursday, August 18, the administration announced that it has hired Accenture to review the procurement process and identify $25 million in savings for the upcoming budget year. However, results of the evaluation have not been announced.  

#9 Integrate public performance targets with service delivery and cost effectiveness
100 Days GoalPerformance benchmarks will be established to develop reasonable standards for city services, such as garbage collection, construction activities, maintenance, repairs and infrastructure services. Performance will be posted online for the public to view.

Many benchmarks have been posted on the city’s website,, including response times for tree removal, rodent baiting and retail food license approvals. 

However, garbage collection information is missing, despite the fact that it’s the only item specifically outlined above.






Our Communities

Selected and graded 4 items out of 16 indexed initiatives.

#13 Take action to address gun violence

100 Days GoalThe administration will develop a comprehensive data collection plan regarding gun usage and crimes. Working with the community and local and federal law enforcement, the city will develop a plan for the use and dissemination of data.  The mayor will join Mayors Against Illegal Guns and work with them to develop and advance a state gun policy agenda.

On day 99, the Emanuel administration announced the completion of a gun report that “includes aggregate data on gun make, state of origin, and involvement in crime for guns recovered by CPD.”

The report also outlines a plan for the gathering, release and utilization of future data. However, the administration hasn't provided a copy of the report. A day earlier, Emanuel announced he joined the organization Mayors Against Illegal Guns. 


#17 Eliminate food deserts in Chicago

100 Days GoalThe city will convene a food desert summit that brings together all the players in the food distribution chain, from grocery store CEOs to food depositories and community groups, to create a strategy. Coupled with a public nutrition awareness campaign, the strategy will identify specific partnerships with businesses and nonprofits.

The summit has been convened, and the Healthy Chicago strategy document has been completed and released, which targets key public health benchmarks. In addition, the administration says millions of dollars in funding have been secured for a Chicago Tobacco Prevention Project and the obesity-focused "Healthy Places" public nutrition awareness program.


#25 Create a world-class bike network and increase cycling

100 Days GoalPilot location for first two miles of protected bike lanes.

The first half-mile of protected bike lanes has been established along Kinzie Avenue between Milwaukee Avenue and Wells Street. Although additional mileage is targeted (including along Jackson Avenue), it’s not yet complete. The administration says the Kinzie route "will be examined for safety, efficiency, and economic development outcomes."


#28 Increase access to public space

100 Days GoalThe task force will deliver its recommendations. A Web-based map of existing public spaces will demonstrate and inventory Chicago’s parks and open space.

On Thursday, August 18, the administration announced the creation of the Web-based map of existing public spaces. Thus far, we’ve yet to locate the map – and the administration has yet to respond directly to our specific requests for the information.  EDITOR'S NOTE: On Wednesday, Emanuel's office provided a link to the map and we raised our grade from a half star to a full star.





Our Children

Selected and graded 4 items out of 12 indexed initiatives.

#29 Increase instructional time for all students

100 Days GoalThe mayor will continue to champion the state legislation.
ProgressThe mayor heavily championed – and the legislation passed. He’s since continued his calls for a longer school day in Chicago Public Schools.Grade

#30 Recruit, support and retain high performing school leaders and principals

100 Days GoalCPS will develop a strategic plan for the Chicago Leadership Academy and partners will be announced.
ProgressIn August, Mayor Emanuel announced the creation of a strategic plan, as well as the establishment of a pool of money for merit raises, and report cards for CPS principals.Grade

#33 Increase the number of non-selective, world-class schools in every neighborhood

100 Days GoalCPS will complete a facilities plan to understand how its schools facilities are currently used and to plan for the 2012-13 school year.

On Monday, August 22, Emanuel said a person had been hired to begin work on the plan. However, administration officials later said the plan has been completed. Thus far, no such facilities plan has been publicly released.


#38 Ensure that Chicago’s immigrant community can access available support and services and that we deliver to Chicago’s youth the promise of the Dream Act.

100 Days GoalThe city will define the Office of New Americans infrastructure, including strategy, outcome and funding goals, accountability for execution, and a pathway – a website, office and dedicated personnel for immigrants to navigate the processes and access the resources they deserve and to which they are entitled.

City Hall has come up with an "internal infrastructure" that outlines the points above. However, the administration is waiting to finalize the hiring of an ONA director. That person will sign off on those plans before making them public.

Currently, there is no website, no office and no dedicated personnel.  The administration says it’s waiting to hire the ONA director so s/he could have input and prerogative on all those points as well.




Our Growth

Selected and graded 6 items out of 16 indexed initiatives.

#44 Develop job growth strategies for targeted industries

100 Days GoalThe city will support analysis and review of the growth potential, including jobs, of targeting industries. The review will also lead to recommendations for a structure to best support implementation of the strategies. Business leaders will convene to develop short-and-long term job growth strategies within their industries.

The administration claims the analysis and review was completed on August 9 and focused attention on the "need for a renewed and rejuvenated World Business Chicago," the organization already charged with boosting Chicago’s economic and business fortunes.

According to the administration, the newly expanded board of the organization has convened to "begin the development of short and long-term job creation strategies." Targeted industries include technology, advanced materials, manufacturing, financial trading and tourism.


#46 Develop bus rapid transit

100 Days Goal

The city will initiate an "alternatives analysis" – to be completed during year one – on Western and Ashland avenues to determine which corridor can most benefit from piloting the expanded service of bus rapid transit.


The CTA initiated the "alternatives analysis process”" by placing a notice on its website.


#47 Support transit-oriented development

100 Days GoalThe mayor will issue an executive order that establishes clear and consistent principals for transit-oriented development, including options such as expedited permitting, set-asides of city-owned property to expand car sharing and bike parking, expanded use of tax credits and load guarantees and opportunities for the city and the private sector to jointly invest with CTA on transit upgrades.

On Friday, August 19, Emanuel issued a policy directive for transit-oriented development that encourages the use of incentives such as expedited permitting, set asides of city-owned property and expanded use of tax credits and loan guarantees.  

Thus far, the administration hasn't provided the directive or responded to our requests for it.



#50 Develop a strategy for a new cultural plan for Chicago

100 Days GoalThe administration will conduct a full audit of current programs, solicit feedback on performance and identify improvements.

On August 15, the administration announced the completion of its audit of city-organized festivals and cultural programs.

Thus far, the administration hasn't provided a copy of the audit or responded to our requests for it.



#52 Refocus the Chicago Climate Action Plan on economic impact and jobs

100 Days GoalEconomic impact goals for the revised plan will be released. City leadership will challenge and work with the broader community to meet the goals of the plan. 
ProgressAccording to the administration, on August 12 it updated the Chicago Climate Action plan, with an emphasis on tying energy efficiency and sustainability to job creation, economic development and cost savings. Grade

#55 Build vibrant communities through development of local assets and institutional anchors

100 Days GoalIn developing a community anchors strategy, the city will identify one to three communities in which to pilot.

The city conducted two weekend working sessions with the University of Chicago and Loyola University Chicago, which resulted in the creation of long-term development plans. 

The administration has provided no evidence that one to three pilot communities have been identified.




Transition Report

Chicago 2011 Transition Plan

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