Council should OK new effort to merge IG offices

SHARE Council should OK new effort to merge IG offices
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Aldermen Rey Colon, Pat Dowell, James Cappleman, Joe Moore, Will Burns, Michelle Smith, Brendan Reilly, Joe Moreno and Ameya Pawar in 2013 offer a proposal to merge the Chicago and City Council inspector general officers | Brian Jackson~ Sun-Times

For too long, an ordinance to combine the City Council and Chicago inspector general offices into one more effective unit has been bottled up in committee.

EDITORIAL

Last week, a new version of the ordinance was introduced that strengthens the firewall between the mayor and the inspector general who will head the combined offices. The Council should approve it.

Now, the Council has its own IG, but the office is underfunded and ineffective. Merging it into the IG office headed by Joe Ferguson would be a big step forward.

Some aldermen are concerned that could put the Council at a disadvantage because the mayor could get wind of any investigations of the Council the combined IG office is doing. The older ordinance had protections against information leaking to the executive branch, but the new one spells out those protections more clearly. Nothing wrong with that.

The new legislation also beefs up the selection process for choosing the inspector general, to make it clear that the mayor can’t appoint someone to the office without meaningful input from the Council. The previous ordinance also endeavored to do that, but there’s nothing wrong with putting the aldermen’s concerns to rest.

An effective inspector’s general’s office is the taxpayer’s best friend because it can root our corruption and blow the whistle on waste and inefficiency.

Some aldermen may have put their names on the previous ordinance because it’s an election year, but weren’t shedding any tears when it disappeared into the Rules Committee.

There isn’t another vote until after the Feb. 24 election, but we hope enough aldermen insist on a chance to vote for the new, improved version of the ordinance that it becomes law.

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