CHICAGO (CBS) — Chicago Aviation Commissioner Ginger Evans was on the hot seat again at budget hearings on Monday, as aldermen repeated criticisms of what they view as a shortage of minority hiring and contracting at the city’s airports.
Evans has had a sometimes contentious relationship with some members of the City Council since she was hired in 2015, but she said there has been an increase in contract payments for businesses owned by women and minorities.
However, Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) told Evans she still is not satisfied with the number of minority businesses that have received contracts and payments from the department.
“It is still below what it needs to be, as you are well aware, as you have been well aware since you have gotten here, and things have not improved,” she said.
Minority contracting at the Aviation Department has been a sore subject at budget hearings in the past, and Ald. Pat Dowell (3rd) told Evans she wants to see detailed numbers regarding the increase in contracts to women and minority business enterprises.
“It appears here that your MBE numbers for African Americans is on a decline,” she said.
“For that particular period of payments, yes, but I think the contract values are higher than that,” Evans answered.
Aldermen also had questions about the status of the airports’ security officer force, which was in the spotlight earlier this year after three officers dragged Dr. David Dao off a United Airlines flight, bloodying his nose and giving him a concussion in the process.
Evans assured aldermen the force wasn’t being privatized.
The officer who yanked Dao out of his seat has been fired, as has a sergeant who supervised the three officers, after the sergeant allegedly removed “material facts” from a report on the incident. The other two officers involved in the incident were suspended for five days for “misleading statements” and “material omissions” in their reports.