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Inspector General Takes Fight to Rahm

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Inspector General Takes Fight to Rahm
Inspector General Takes Fight to Rahm

Chicago Inspector General Joe Ferguson is not happy with the new mayor, same as the old mayor.

Ferguson Tuesday said he can't do his job effectively because of "serious understaffing" by the city and lack of access to information.

Among other tasks, the inspector general is supposed to oversee city hiring, to make sure no cronyism invades the process. But Ferguson said he needs mayoral approval to hire his own employees and is limited in which city departments he can investigate. That process, he says,  limits his independence and opens him up to retribution from the people he's supposed to keep tabs on. 

“The city has never permitted the IGO to fully staff the unit, even as authorized by its budget,” Ferguson said in a statment. His office had a similar fight with Emanuel's predecessor Richard Daley.

Another fight that's carried over between administrations, Ferguson said, is a lack of access to information.

Ferguson claims the city's Law Department refuses to provide documents critical to an ongoing investigation of a former Daley aide. The IGO has successfully sued over the case, but still finds their access blocked.

“[This administration continues] wholesale the position of the prior administration . . . that the iGO is not a legally independent agency,” Ferguson wrote, saying that the Emanuel adminstration has filed an appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court. 

Spokespeople for the Emanuel administration told the Sun-Times that they haven't opposed filling vacancies in the IG office and that the legal fight falls under attorney-client priveledge.

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