Measure to Replace McPier's Board Advances

Vote sends strong message to Daley, Quinn who wanted to give McPier board more power

By BJ Lutz
|  Tuesday, Jan 12, 2010  |  Updated 6:30 PM CDT
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A day after a clean sweep of Chicago's convention board was suggested, the Illinois House on Tuesday approved legislation that would do just that.

House Majority Leader Barbara Flynn Currie on Monday evening suggested replacing the entire board of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, which owns and operates McCormick Place and Navy Pier, and replacing it with a temporary panel.

"It’s time for a little new broom, a little sweep clean," Currie said, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Tuesday's 112-0 vote sends a strong message to Chicago Mayor Richard Daley and Gov. Pat Quinn, who recommended legislation that would give additional authority to McPier's board, allow it to restructure its debt and make McCormick Place, Navy Pier and all of its contractors public employers, effectively preventing labor from striking.

Pressure has been building to overhaul the convention business since late last year, when three trade shows left the city in favor of cheaper and thus more attractive cities.

Many of the exhibitors expressed shock over McPier's exorbitant electrical service costs and exclusive food service contracts.

The state Senate is expected to take up Currie's proposal soon.

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