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City Council Inspector General Runs Out Of Money to Do His Job

By Chuck Sudo in News on Jun 25, 2012 3:40PM

Chicago City Council Inspector General Faisal Khan.
When the Chicago City Council approved the appointment of Faisal Khan as Legislative Inspector General last November they said the former inspector general for the New York City Department of Investigation would have the necessary tools for the job with no interference from aldermen.

Except for cash, apparently. City Council only provided the part-time position with $60,000 in funding, which Khan has promptly spent. Now Khan and Mayor Rahm Emanuel's budget office is asking for an extra $200,000 in funding to continue the investigations he's currently pursuing. The City Council Budget Committee will weigh the request Tuesday and, if it approves, will send the request to the full City Council when it meets Wednesday.

Khan, who has maintained his legal practice while acting at Legislative IG, is billing the city $250 an hour while trying to change the perception that City Council has no oversight. Khan told the Tribune he's focused mainly on the IG position since his appointment:

"I can't tell you the number of investigations I have or the content of the investigations. But my office is active," Khan said. "I've had no push-back at all when I've requested anything. No one has tried to impede my way. I have access to everything I need."

City Council voted to appoint its own IG in May 2010, then waited 18 months before selecting Khan. Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson legally may only pursue investigations related to the Mayor's office, and there's some skepticism as to whether Khan's investigations will have some teeth. Khan must receive approval to investigate an alderman with the City's Board of Ethics, which has turned a blind eye never found evidence of wrongdoing by an alderman, despite 31 aldermen having been sent to prison since the 1970s.

If approved, the extra funding can cover Khan's legal fees, administrative costs and possibly establish a website for the office, to show that there is transparency in his office and further change the perception his investigations will be for naught.