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EDITORIAL: Long in the MWRD pipeline, IG plan needs a yes vote

A compost screener removes larger pieces of woodchips, which are used as a bulking agent for composting with biosolids in open windrows, from finished compost at the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District, Tuesday afternoon, May 8, 2018. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

An important reform is close to being unclogged at the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District. The commissioners should ensure it happens.

After two years of painstaking work and overcoming resistance, the MWRD board is set to vote on Thursday to allow Cook County’s inspector general, Patrick M. Blanchard, to serve as the water agency’s inspector general as well.


The only question is why this deal wasn’t done sooner. Instead of creating a new IG office from the ground up, at considerable cost, the agency in charge of treating sewage and controlling storm water would share the services of an existing IG and benefit from the existing expertise.

It also would be a much faster way to put an inspector general to work on examining the agency’s budget of more than $1 billion a year. It’s a good deal for the taxpayers.

If the measure is approved by the MWRD board, the Cook County Board, which also must sign on, is prepared to put the measure on its May 25 agenda. It appears the County Board will support it, but a strong vote in favor by the MWRD board would encourage county commissioners to vote in favor as well.

This being Chicago, there’s always the chance that someone will decide at the last minute that it’s time for another postponement. It takes only one MWRD commissioner to delay an item on the agenda.

We hope that doesn’t happen. Taxpayers are looking for a strong signal from the MWRD that accountability matters.


EDITORIAL: Don’t bungle MWRD’s plan for an independent inspector general

SOURCE: Metropolitan Water Reclamation District
SOURCE: Metropolitan Water Reclamation District

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