Chicago to hire outside firm to operate workers comp program

In another move to reform how the city conducts its business, Mayor Lori Lightfoot says Chicago will transfer day-to-day control of its $100 million-per-year workers' compensation program to a private company.

The program for decades was handled in secret under the control of now-indicted Alderman Edward Burke. The long-time alderman was charged in January with attempted extortion for allegedly trying to shake down restaurateurs.

Lightfoot said Thursday a recent audit of the program by accounting firm Grant Thornton found there were nearly 1,300 open workers' compensation claims.

Lightfoot noted other cities long ago reformed and professionalized their own programs. She said Chicago continued to operate in an opaque and antiquated manner that even members of the City Council didn't know how the program worked.

According to Lightfoot, Gallagher Bassett, an international public sector claims firm, will be hired to operate the program.