An Executive Inspector General hired by the city of Chicago to look into any complaints of fiscal mismanagement by the city, has been denied access to records of the city’s $100 million, self-managed, self-insured workers compensation program. The denial comes from the city who hired him in the first place.
Way to keep things honest and above board in the windy city.
Alderman Ed Burke won’t let Inspector General Joseph Ferguson see the program records. He says Ferguson lacks jurisdiction because “ministerial support” for the program is provided by the City Council’s Finance Committee. Coincidentally that committee is chaired by Burke. Ferguson, it turns out, has no authority to investigate council members or their staffers under the ordinance written by the City Council – the very people who created the position in the first place.
The position was created by the city council in 2010 in response to repeated scandals, and they wanted to apparently have the appearance of doing something to keep their phoney baloney jobs. It took 18 months to hire the first inspector, Faisal Khan. He was not able to open an investigation without permission from the Chicago Board of Ethics. He had no staff and a teeny weeny budget. That hasn’t changed today. Only the name of the inspector is different.
So, the city of Chicago has a $100 million disability program for injured city employees, and the guy hired to keep people honest and make sure the money isn’t stolen or misspent isn’t allowed to see any of the records, because, according to Burke, “the clear division of powers between the legislative and executive branches of government” will not allow it.
That explanation is so full of BS that I had to go back and re-read it numerous times just to figure it out. Best as I can tell, the Aldermen that comprise the city council would be the “legislative” branch, which coincidentally created the Inspector General position, which is now presumably the “executive” branch. Unless, of course, it is the other way around. Probably doesn’t matter. It is a load of crap either way.
Nice arrangement. Make sure that guard dog is neutered and has undergone sensitivity training before you release it into the junkyard.
Of course, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, an un-neutered pit bull if there ever was one, is all over this. In one of his bolder statements to date, he urged everyone to “work together” to resolve the jurisdictional dispute. No word if he also suggested a “group hug” or aroma therapy to reduce stress this might have caused. He also restated his commitment to finding savings in workers’ compensation.
Ouch. That’s telling them. I can hardly wait for the Chicago Board of Ethics to weigh in. That could leave a mark.