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City Council IG Meets Resistance With Requests For Employee Time Sheets

By Chuck Sudo in News on Nov 19, 2012 2:30PM

Chicago City Council Inspector General Faisal Khan.
It’s said you aren’t doing your job at City Hall right until you run afoul of the powers that be. If so, Legislative Inspector General Faisal Khan just received his Chicago welcome.

The Sun-Times reports some aldermen may be having buyer’s remorse with their handpicked watchdog, who wants to look at the time sheets of all full- and part-time employees of City Council dating back to 2010. Some aldermen were so taken aback by the request they’re recommending Khan be fired, while others have said Khan is overstepping his office’s already very limited bounds.

It’s been a widely assumed practice that aldermen have filled their office payrolls with friends and relatives, and even traded them among other aldermen so as not to give such an overt appearance of patronage and nepotism. Isn’t saying why he wants to see the time sheets, but the ordinance that established his office doesn’t allow him to conduct audits.

Any investigations of individual aldermen would require a signed and sworn complaint, authorization from the City Board of Ethics and approval from the City Council Rules Committee. And since City Council has never voted to investigate one of their own, one can easily see how they believe they hold the upper hand. Ald. Roderick Sawyer (6th) told the Sun-Times Khan is overstepping his bounds.

”We don’t think this is based on any verified complaint. This is just him fishing or making busy work. If he has an investigation, tell us what it is. If not, collect your check and get out of the way. I don’t see that includes asking for time sheets unless he has a verified complaint.”

Sawyer and other aldermen believe Khan has already collected more than his fair share. When they named him to the Legislative IG spot in November 2011, Khan was only given a $60,000 budget, which he promptly spent like a sailor on shore leave. Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office asked for an extra $200,000 in funding, while an amendment to Emanuel’s 2013 budget ups the funding for Khan’s office to $354,000 and Emanuel is considering another round of ethics reforms would expand Khan’s authority. So even Emanuel believes there’s a fairly stocked pond for Khan to fish.

The report from Sun-Times City Hall reporter Fran Spielman comes on the heels of a weekend story that showed 15 members of Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios’ family are employed by city, county or state government. They’re spread out so far the Sun-Times needed to produce a flow chart.