City Ethics Course Leads to Violation: Inspector General

A city worker took a mandatory test for three others, the City Inspector General’s Office says

By Phil Rogers
|  Monday, Jan 23, 2012  |  Updated 2:07 PM CDT
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City Ethics Course Leads to Ethics Violation

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The City Inspector General’s Office says a tree trimmer with the Bureau of Forestry of the Department of Streets and Sanitation took the city’s mandatory ethics training course for three of his fellow workers. 

The charge is revealed in Inspector General Joseph Ferguson’s Quarterly report, filed Monday.  The report says the three Streets and San workers who benefitted from their coworker’s generosity admitted they did not take the training themselves when the course was offered June 8, 2010.  Nevertheless, two of them were given a certificate of completion by the tree trimmer after they provided him with their social security numbers.

The course is offered for City of Chicago employees by computer. Investigators say the rogue employee logged into the ethics site and took the course for all three employees, completing all three courses in a total of 28 minutes, an average of six to nine minutes apiece. 

The three employees who benefitted from the scheme reportedly cooperated fully in the investigation. The tree trimmer, who was not named, was recommended for termination.

In a separate investigation, Ferguson says a Streets and Sanitation Ward Superintendent was caught collecting election signs throughout his ward and, while on city time, separating the signs of the ward’s incumbent alderman from those of other candidates, whose signs were discarded.

The superintendent acknowledged doing campaign work on city time, but his boss ordered him to serve only a one-day suspension, which Ferguson said had yet to be scheduled.

The Inspector General called the supervisor’s leniency in the incident, “obstructive to the investigative process.”

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