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CPS has a new inspector general

The Board of Education is expected on Wednesday to acknowledge the district’s new inspector general, who is charged with keeping an eye on the $6 billion agency and its 41,000 employees for the next four years.

Nicholas J. Schuler Jr. has been serving as interim inspector general since James Sullivan, who held the office for 12 years, retired in June. Schuler, 47, Sullivan’s deputy since 2010, is a former police officer who has worked under three inspectors general of the school district and the city.

He was formally appointed in writing on Dec. 8 by Mayor Rahm Emanuel.

In an IG’s office, Schuler’s “police background and legal background play into the same job,” he said Tuesday by telephone from his office at 567 W. Lake St., about a mile from CPS’ main headquarters.

On Wednesday, the board will vote on a resolution acknowledging his hiring and laying out his duties, according to the meeting agenda. The office of the inspector general is set to release its annual report of alleged wrongdoing on Jan. 1.

“Since joining the Office of Inspector General in 2010, Nick Schuler has dedicated himself to ensuring integrity in Chicago Public Schools by conducting thorough investigations into allegations of waste, fraud and financial mismanagement,” board President David Vitale said in a statement. “His experience and expertise make him the ideal candidate to lead the office, and we look forward to continuing this important relationship.”

Schuler said his salary is still being negotiated. He earned about $117,000 as deputy inspector general. Sullivan made $133,000 at the time of his retirement.

Married with two young children, Schuler and his family live in Ravenswood.

Schuler, the son of a police officer raised in Portage Park, worked for the Chicago Police Department for almost 10 years, spending some time in internal affairs. When he left in 2001 for law school at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, he was a sergeant.

While working at Winston and Strawn, he took notice of David Hoffman’s apppointment to city inspector general by then-Mayor Richard M. Daley

“I was kind of thunderstruck when they appointed David Hoffman,” he said. “I realized this was a guy who wasn’t going to conduct regular investigations.”

Hoffman eventually hired him; successor Joe Ferguson kept him. He applied to be Sullivan’s deputy in fall 2010, calling it a promotion.

“I worked under three IGs and I’ve been exposed to three great styles,” Schuler said. “I think I’m kind of a mix of three IGs I worked for. I view myself as impartial and working the details. My work speaks for itself.”