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Joseph Ferguson Reappointed City Inspector General

By Chuck Sudo in News on Sep 3, 2013 5:45PM

2011_3_31_ferguson_IG.jpg In a shocking decision, Mayor Rahm Emanuel will recommend reappointing Joseph Ferguson to a new four-year term as the city’s Inspector General last Friday but he could be gone as early as next summer if he can complete a laundry list of outstanding business and investigations.

The Sun-Times, which first reported the story, said Emanuel and Ferguson met for the first time Friday since the mayor was sworn into office and worked to clear the air between. The two have had a contentious relationship and discussed ways to find common ground moving forward. Ferguson indicated he’d like to stay in the position long enough to get the city out from under the Shakman decree against political hiring—and the taxpayer costs for maintaining a hiring monitor to ensure the city is in compliance—but a statement from Emanuel indicated he didn’t expect Ferguson to serve out his full term.

“I am pleased to accept the Inspector General’s offer to stay on through next summer and complete the important work currently under way,” the mayor was quoted as saying.

“I look forward to working with Joe to see the city to full Shakman compliance and end four decades of federal hiring oversight. The Inspector General and I share the same underlying goal: protecting the taxpayers.”

Ferguson thanked Emanuel for the support (such as it is) and said in a statement he hopes to wrap up his work by next summer and will “move on to other things.”

Ferguson and Emanuel have waged a war of wills since the mayor took office and the Illinois Supreme Court ruled in March the City IG ultimately answers to the mayor when it comes to enforcing subpoenas, even when investigations involves the mayor’s office. Ferguson argued the ruling hamstrings his ability to investigate corruption and efficiency in city government. Ferguson also drew the mayor’s ire while attempting to audit city departments and Emanuel’s grandiose claims of taxpayer savings as a result of efficiency implementations, and asked Emanuel to honor a campaign promise to expand the power of the IG’s office.