As part of an ongoing process to ensure what he calls a “government that holds itself to the highest ethical standards”, Mayor Rahm Emanuel introduced an ordinance calling for tougher restrictions on when city contractors must report unethical behavior.
The ordinance, which was passed by City Council on Wednesday, requires those who do business with the city to report any corrupt activity carried out by an employee related to the contractor’s business to the Chicago Inspector General. As a result, if a contractor knows of an employee’s unlawful behavior and doesn’t report it, the contractor would be in violation of the ordinance and default on their contract.
“Chicago residents deserve a government that holds itself to the highest ethical standard. This ordinance will bring City contractors in line with the same ethics we expect from our City employees and officials,” the Mayor said in a statement. “Passing this ordinance will allow us to hold those who work on behalf of the taxpayer accountable, helping encouraging honest and fair actions amongst all who represent the City of Chicago.”
To violate the ordinance, the vendor must “knowingly” fail to report unethical acts. This is expected to hold vendors for the city to a very high legal standard, meaning it would be illegal for them to have actual knowledge of the corrupt activity or to be deliberately ignorant of the corrupt activity and not report it.
The new rules follow an upheaval in the city’s approach to ethics in 2013. In October, Mayor Emanuel replaced the sitting Board of Ethics with entirely new members, and in July the Council passed an ordinance said to be the first overhaul of the city’s ethics code in 25 years.