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Honeymoon Over for Emanuel, Inspector General

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jul 20, 2011 6:40PM

2011_3_31_ferguson_IG.jpg And here we thought the relationship between the Mayor's and Inspector General's offices would be all wine and roses with the election of Rahm Emanuel. Nope.

Inspector General Joseph Ferguson released his second quarter report Friday and, if the report is any indication, the Emanuel's level of cooperation with the IGO is in many ways just as contemptuous and hostile as it was under Richard Daley.

From the report:

While the IGO can choose whom it wants to hire on its own, it cannot make its hires without approval from the Mayor's office. The IGO budget remains unprotected and, thus, vulnerable to retribution. This office still cannot directly communicate investigative information to the City's sister agencies, such as the Chicago Public Schools and its IGO, as well as many associated law enforcement agencies. The IGO's jurisdiction does not fully extend to core City functions administered by still other "sister agencies" such as the Public Building Commission and the Chicago Park District through which hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money flow and are expended annually. Lastly, this office is empowered to independently issue subpoenas, but is presently engaged in a court action over whether it can enforce those subpoenas - the City's Law Department says it may not; that the IGO is not an independent agency, and that certain of its investigative and enforcement capacities instead are contingent upon the discretion of the Law Department itself and where there is conflict, the Mayor, without recourse or review by a court, even in instances in which the Law Department and, concomitantly, the Mayor, has a conflict of interest.

Ferguson's report revealed the Emanuel Administration filed an appeal with the Illinois Supreme Court taking the position that the IGO is not an independent office. Chris Mather, Emanuel's communications director, said the Fifth Floor is committed to giving Ferguson the resources necessary to fulfill his duties and just met with Ferguson to approve of the investigators he wants to hire. Law Department spokeswoman Jennifer Hoyle wouldn't comment on Ferguson's charges, citing "attorney-client privilege."

The report also details what Ferguson and his office has been investigating the past three months. Like we've written before, he'll never be lacking for something in City Hall.