David Mosena named chairman of McPier

By Kathy Bergen
Posted July 21, 2010 at 4:25 p.m.

David Mosena, a former chief of staff to Mayor Richard Daley who currently is president and CEO of the Museum of Science and Industry, was elected Wednesday as the new chairman of the agency that runs McCormick Place and Navy Pier.

Mosena’s was selected unanimously by the newly appointed interim board of the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority, the state-city agency known as McPier that owns and operates the convention complex and the pier.

Prior to joining the museum in 1997, Mosena served as president of the Chicago Transit Authority. He also has served as the city’s aviation commissioner and its planning commissioner.

His appointment to the unpaid McPier position completes the board, which includes three Daley appointees and three members named by Gov. Pat Quinn. This board will serve for an 18-month transition period as McCormick Place operations are restructured and private management is brought in.

During this period, much of the decision-making power will rest with Jim Reilly, who was named trustee by a recently enacted state law aimed at overhauling McCormick Place and making it more competitive with lower-cost rivals. The board’s role will be reduced during this period, but it has the authority to override Reilly’s decisions.

The new law also mandates a host of operational changes, and some of them will be in place by Aug. 1, McCormick Place General Manager David Causton told the board.

All exhibitors will be able to do booth set-up using power hand tools. They also will be able to use their own cars and vans to bring material to the center, and they will be able to wheel some materials to their booths.

The time period for straight-time labor rates will be expanded, and crew sizes will be cut. McCormick Place also will drop its mark-up on food and beverages, and on electrical service — the hourly rate for an electrician will drop from $103 to $79.

Prices for food bought at concessions will drop by 20 percent. Convention attendees will be able to buy a full lunch at the concessions for less than $10, Causton said.

Prices also are coming down on coffee, bottled water and Pepsi that exhibitors buy in bulk for their booths, and prices will be cheaper than at any of the city’s main rival facilities, Causton said. The exact price changes were not available Wednesday afternoon.

The prices on a case of Pepsi became a lightning rod for exhibitor anger last year.

McPier began restructuring prior to the legislation, including a move to trim 20 percent of its work force, and its cutbacks reduced the operating deficit for the year ended June 30 to $19.3 million, according to preliminary numbers released Wednesday. Prior to the cuts, the agency was projecting a deficit of $28.8 million.

But the agency experienced a worse-than-expected shortfall in tourism-related taxes used to pay its debt service, with a two-year total rising to $57.2 million. Early in the fiscal year, the agency had expected the figure to be $52.7 million, and later revised its projection to $55.15 million.The new state law authorizes McPier to restructure its debt, and that process is expected to begin in October.

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  1. jack (me) July 21, 2010 at 9:00 a.m.

    So, another political hack (at least he did something during his short tenure at the CTA, while his successor only, in the words of our next convicted governor, bleeped up).

    BTW, is he on leave from MSI or actually resigned for this 18 month gig? It turns out that Reilly had to resign from the RTA, which might be a good thing for the RTA, probably not for McPier.

  2. James July 21, 2010 at 9:29 a.m.

    So great, that rounds out a complete board of individuals who know nothing about the trade show industry. Way to go.

    BTW, Reilly is the best thing that happened to the MPEA and if you got your head out of your butt and researched it a bit Jack you’d see how wrong you are.

  3. chitownlady July 21, 2010 at 10:56 a.m.

    Still keeping it the “DA FAMILY”……..This is getting pretty GOD DAM ridiculous! i am actually thinkng that Mayor Daley is the white version of Todd Stroger!

  4. MinsterR July 21, 2010 at 11:20 a.m.

    @Chitown lady You are just now reaching this conclusion. Daley’s corruption and blatant disregard for you is a daily occurrence. My G-D, Just look at the dept of aviation or follow Ron huberman’s jump from one job to the other.

  5. next! July 21, 2010 at 12:47 pm

    The appointment of a dyed in the wool Daley guy means that McPier will not look at all the factors involved in the demise of McCormick Place. Orlando and Vegas spent big bucks on their general aviation airports that serve their convention business precisely as Daley illegally destroyed Meigs. A big problem with 20+ years of Daley at the head of the city is that planning in never based on factual data its based on who needs to be helped out at the public trough.

  6. Darius July 21, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    $79 an hour? Yikes!!!

  7. John Q Public July 21, 2010 at 1:21 pm

    “Prices for food bought at concessions will drop by 20 percent. Convention attendees will be able to buy a full lunch at the concessions for less than $10, Causton said.”

    Bur will still taste like 99 cents.

  8. Captain Wentworth July 21, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    I used to work with David Mosena even before he was Daley’s Chief of Staff. He is a straight shooter, professional in all his dealings, and the Museum’s loss (hopefully it is not permanent) will be McPier’s gain. Those who are writing snarky stuff here don’t know what they’re talking about.

  9. jack (me) July 21, 2010 at 2:01 pm

    James, I don’t know if Reilly is the best thing for McPier, but getting rid of him was sure an improvement for the RTA, where he essentially said nothing but “we don’t have the revenue” and “sure, we’ll accept Quinn’s ideas of going deeper into debt, while he doesn’t come through on the capital money.” The Auditor General had a long report on the lack of RTA oversight, and Reilly sure didn’t exercise any thereafter. Just ask Phil Pagano.*

    *Yes, I know he is dead and why. Also, I read that the RTA first said that oversight of his activities was not its job.

  10. Active July 21, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    I’m an architect who worked with David when he was with Planning Department and I second the Captain above. He is very inteligent, thoughtful and not at all a political hack.

  11. Amy July 21, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Can we get some information on how much he is being paid. While he may be a capable business person, the $1 million he was pulling down from the museum was a pure plumb politican gift. No one is worth that much…..will he be double dipping in true Chicago style or leaving one job for the other….details, Trib…where are the details?

  12. Cheryl Cooke July 21, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    Daivd is a great leader and visonary. I had the pleasure of working with him on the revitalization of Navy Pier when he was Commissioner of Planning and Development. He is an excellent choice by the Mayor to lead MPEA.

  13. john a July 24, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    David Mosena is as far from a political hack as you can get. As i understand the Museum is not losing him at all. He will continue his duties there as the Chairman position is unpaid. You all really need to do some research before you go spouting off ******** about someone who i think should be mayor.