Public Building chief is in line for new job
CITY HALL | Gayles boosted minority participation
October 3, 2007
BY FRAN SPIELMAN City Hall Reporter
After delivering the $254 million Kennedy-King College with record levels of minority participation, Public Building Commission executive director Montel Gayles is in line to inherit one of City Hall's biggest headaches: the Department of Procurement Services.
City Hall sources said Gayles has emerged as the front-runner to replace Chief Procurement Officer Barbara Lumpkin, who resigned last week, leaving behind a department that has struggled to boost black contracting and weed out minority fronts.
Led Kennedy-King project
Only a 10 percent share of the city's purchasing pie is awarded to African Americans, despite years of outreach and more recent efforts to break down barriers -- by raising the maximum net worth for construction contracts to $2 million and reducing to 10 percent the bonding requirement for contracts over $100,000.
Gayles would be a logical choice for the $169,452-a-year job. After serving as chief of staff to Chicago Housing Authority chief Terry Peterson, Gayles took over the Daley-chaired Public Building Commission at a critical time.
The commission was struggling to complete the Kennedy-King project, which was bogged down by $62 million in cost overruns and years of construction delays caused in part by community demands for a piece of the action.
Gayles satisfied those demands by dividing the project into smaller chunks to attract more minority bidders. He also engineered a city bailout that included a $10 million city loan, $20 million from tax-increment financing and $15 million in funds generated by putting off other City Colleges projects.