Department of Family and Support Services

DFSS is Chicago’s umbrella organization for a number of social support programs, including the city’s children and elderly care, homeless assistance, domestic violence prevention and veterans’ resource efforts. DFSS received more American Rescue Plan investment dollars in the 2022 budget than any other city department.

Change Highlights and Context

  • Last year the DFSS line item for American Rescue Plan Investment totaled a $213 million lump sum. The 2023 budget proposal does not include ARP investment funds for DFSS. Because the budget lists ARP investment as a single lump sum, not broken out by individual program, it is unclear which of the DFSS recovery plan programs were fully funded for their entire lifespan by the 2022 budget, which will continue to be funded via a different appropriation, and which will be discontinued in 2023. The following ARP-funded programs are listed under DFSS’s supervision in the Recovery Plan Exhibit:
  • Early childhood and child education staffing has been reduced substantially in the 2023 budget. The Head Start and Early Head Start division is down 16 positions, a 22.5% reduction, and the Early Childhood Block Grant division is down four positions, a 22.2% reduction.
  • The appropriation for Delegate Agencies – funds that the city passes on from its treasury to third-party agencies that provide direct services – increased from $397 million in 2022 to $670.6 million in 2023, a 69.2% increase. The budget does not break out delegate agency spending by contractor or category.

Board of Election Commissioners

The Board of Election Commissioners is established under state elections law and technically is part of the judicial branch, but receives operational funding from the City of Chicago. BoEC oversees Chicago’s polling places and ballot processes, including vote-by-mail.

Change Highlights and Context

  • BoEC’s budget more than doubled from the 2022 budget, the largest proportional increase of any city department. Every significant appropriations category saw at least some increase from the 2022 budget.
  • Major budget increases include the Professional and Technical Services (outside contracting) appropriation, up from $924,016 in the 2022 budget to $9.8 million in 2023, and the Extra Hire budget (used for the short-term hire of poll workers and other temporary election staff), up from $2 million in 2022 to $10 million in 2023.
  • Freight and graphic services budgets both lept from low-thousands line items to over a million dollars each, a massive proportional change.

Department of Administrative Hearings

DoAH is a quasi-judicial body authorized to administer hearings on ordinance violations that do not include a penalty of imprisonment. Administrative hearings offer an alternative to full court cases for low-level traffic violations, building code violations, and similar non-violent, city-level offenses.

Change Highlights and Context

  • DoAH saw relatively little change from the 2022 budget to the 2023 proposal. A $311,316 increase in the Professional and Technical Services (outside contracting) appropriation made up the bulk of its budget increase.

License Appeal Commission

The License Appeal Commission is a standalone adjudicatory body for hearings relating to business liquor licenses. It is the city’s smallest department by headcount and budget.

Change Highlights and Context

  • There were no major changes to LAC’s budget from 2022 to 2023.

Geoffrey Cubbage is a policy and budget analyst focusing on the Illinois General Assembly and Chicago's City Council. Prior to joining the Better Government Association in 2022, Geoffrey served as Director...