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Daley Wants City IG to Have Investigative Power Over Council

By Kevin Robinson in News on Feb 9, 2010 2:00PM

Sure, he's older and balder now, but in 1990, Mayor Daley was 100 pounds lighter and had the world at his feet.
Following on the heels of a sexual harassment scandal that bubbled up into the news last month, Mayor Daley has transferred control over city hiring to Chicago's Inspector General. Daley is also proposing that the IG have the power to investigate corruption in the city council. Citing the federal corruption investigation into 29th Ward Ald. Issac Carothers, Daley said that “I think after the Carothers issue, some people are losing confidence in government.”

City Inspector General Joseph Ferguson heralded the announcement. "The proposal announced by the mayor here today to amend the inspector general’s ordinance constitutes a watershed moment in the history of the city,” Ferguson told the Tribune. “This proposal comes to grips with core structural reforms necessary to root out patronage and corruption in the city of Chicago."

Ferguson issued a report to the mayor last month recommending 30 day suspensions for Anthony Boswell and Mark Meaney, Daley's chief compliance officer and his first deputy, respectively. Ferguson alleged that Boswell and Meaney worked to interfere with an investigation into a high-ranking official at the city's 911 center who was accused of sexual harassment by a student intern in 2008. Meaney later resigned. Daley had been reportedly considering transferring control over hiring to the city IG in hopes of appeasing federal hiring monitors, who might then end federal court-supervised oversight of city hiring as part of the Shakman Decree.

Not surprisingly, aldermen were none too excited about a mayoral appointed inspector general looking over their shoulders. “That would mean the executive branch would control the votes of the aldermen. That’s the same type of power J. Edgar Hoover tried to get over Congress [so he could] use that power to blackmail Congress,” 50th Ward Ald. Bernie Stone told the Sun-Times. “I just don’t think you should carte-blanchely give people the opportunity to investigate people they don’t like. If they’re adverse to something we’re doing and they want to dig up stuff on you, they’d look hard enough and create something,” 28th Ward Ald. Ed Smith said. 49th Ward Ald. Joe Moore, however, was more sanguine. “If you keep your nose clean, you have nothing to worry about,” Moore told the Sun-Times.