City Council Approves "Toothless" Inspector General Plan
By Marcus Gilmer in News on May 12, 2010 9:45PM
By a 28-17 vote, the City Council approved a plan to hire their own inspector general to oversee aldermen and their employees. But the plan approved is being called "watered-down": for an investigation to begin, a sworn complaint must be signed by the accuser and approval must be given by the City's Board of Ethics. In fact, no one's happy about the whole thing. From the Sun-Times:
“If we do nothing, we get beat up. If we do something, we get beat up,” said Ald. Fredrenna Lyle (6th), who supported the ordinance.
Critics denounced the ordinance as political window dressing. They argued that the strings attached will insulate incumbents, scare off whistleblowers and preclude meaningful investigations, while pretending to bring about reform.
Ald. Joe Moore (49th) and Bernard Stone (50th) led the charge against the watered down ordinance for different reasons. Stone called it political “suicide.” Moore called it a “toothless tiger” so watered down as to be cosmetic and meaningless.
So why go through with it? Essentially to get Mayor Daley off their back. Added Ald. Stone: "As far as the general public is concerned, we're all crooks anyway, so you won't satisfy them." Well, we aren't. We've lost track of how many former or then-current aldermen have gone to prison; according to attorney Michael Shakman, the number is apparently 31 since the '70s. And Shakman's right when he says the Council shouldn't be trusted to appoint its own watchdog but Mayor Daley is reportedly okay with the plan.