12/06/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Daley Reverses Course, Stops Big PR Payments

City Hall has abruptly halted all spending for private public relations consultants, despite Mayor Richard Daley's repeated assertions that the contracts are a wise use of taxpayer money.

"We didn't have that many anyway," Daley told reporters Tuesday. "Any other questions?"

The move follows a Tribune report last month that the city spends millions of dollars on outside public relations help in addition to $4.7 million a year on salaries for more than 50 public information officials in the administration. After the report was published, Daley tersely defended those expenditures as being "worth it."

But with the mayor proposing almost 1,000 layoffs of city employees to close a $469 million budget shortfall, some aldermen questioned the costs of the Daley message machine, especially the payments to outside consultants.

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