CHICAGO

Inspector General Slams Mayor Emanuel's Office For 'Handicapping' Oversight

01/24/2012 08:45 am ET | Updated Jan 24, 2012

In his quarterly report released Monday, Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson slammed Mayor Rahm Emanuel's use of attorney-client privilege to withhold documents from his office related to current misconduct investigations.

"If the city has the ability to shield communication regarding hiring-related misconduct from either IGO Hiring Oversight or IGO Investigation by claiming Attorney-Client privilege, the IGO cannot fully inhabit its compliance and governance duties," Ferguson wrote in the report.

Ferguson and Emanuel have repeatedly clashed over the oversight agency's purview, particularly in the examination of a $100,000 no-bid contract handed to an aide during Mayor Richard Daley's administration. Documents pertaining to this investigation remain at the heart of Ferguson's complaints, and his office the city's Law Department continue to fight over related access rights before the Illinois Supreme Court.

In the newest report, Ferguson accuses the mayor's office of denying the IGO access to "an increasing number" of documents related to current investigations, "compromising IGO's...ability to provide stringent oversight of the city."

The quarterly IG report also details multiple accounts of employee misconduct where the city doled out punishments far lighter than the agency's recommendations. Citations included a Fire Department chief who allowed his adult son to sleep at the station house and ride along on emergency calls, who was verbally reprimanded instead of facing the IG's recommended 20-day suspension, and a tree trimmer who took mandatory ethics training courses for three other employees. Ferguson recommended the employee be fired and listed as ineligible for future city positions; the city issued a 20-day suspension.

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