As Mayor Lori Lightfoot approaches her 100th day in office, Tuesday, she already has scored a number of historic firsts: first African American woman to be mayor of Chicago, the city’s first openly gay mayor, the first in memory to challenge the unrivaled power of aldermen in their wards. 

And now there is one more: the first mayor to develop a city budget after polling her public via SurveyMonkey.

That’s right. The online tool people use to decide an office lunch order, or whether an internet meme is funny or not, is being deployed by a city that needs to close an estimated $1 billion budget gap.

And you know what? Lightfoot may be on to something here.

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David Greising is the president and chief executive of the Better Government Association, joining the BGA in 2018. For nearly a century, the BGA has fought for honest and effective government through investigative journalism and policy advocacy.

Greising’s career started at the City News Bureau of Chicago, with stops at the Chicago Sun-Times, Business Week magazine, the Chicago Tribune and Reuters. He was a co-founder of the Chicago News Cooperative and worked briefly as a consultant to World Business Chicago. Today, Greising writes on government issues in regular columns for the Tribune and Crain’s Chicago Business.

Under Greising’s leadership, the BGA has played a key role in uncovering public corruption amidst the wide-ranging federal probe, starting with an in-depth report about Ald. Ed Burke’s conflicts of interest before the federal charges against Burke. The BGA also has exposed waste and fraud at O’Hare and the proliferation of corruption and poverty into Dolton, Lyons and other Chicago suburbs. The BGA’s policy team has led calls for ethics reform in Chicago’s City Council and in state government.