Daley's New Nemesis

Appoints his own watchdog

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    It seemed like routine business in these parts when Mayor Daley on Friday appointed a new city inspector general to replace David Hoffman, the former federal prosecutor who is now running for U.S. Senate.

    But when you stop to think about it, it's positively bizarre: Stop me before I cheat again! 

    And if you get in my way I won't re-appoint you! Your job depends on busting me - and/or sucking up!

    Being a Daley appointee never prevented Hoffman from pursuing his job independently and aggressively, but shouldn't someone else appoint a watchdog whose main job is to watch and dog Daley?

    A smidgen of history here: The city's inspector general's office gained the authority in 2007 to investigate political hiring abuses as part of a federal court settlement.

    Later that year Daley created an Office of Compliance to form yet another bureaucratic division charged with making sure he did the right thing - except that this office was widely seen as an attempt to dilute the power of the inspector general's office.

    Are you following me camera guy?

    To be fair, federal court monitor Noelle Brennan praised the compliance office earlier this year and noted that the Daley administration had made progress.

    But just days ago, lawyer Michael Shakman made a court filing saying the compliance office was not sufficiently independent of the mayor.

    And now Daley gets to appoint the new inspector general, too. In other words, Daley appoints both the head of his compliance office and the inspector general, both of which are charged with making sure Daley, um, doesn't always get his way. And their jobs depend on it! 

    I wonder if Daley will get to appoint the prosecutor and judge, too, if he ever goes on trial.

    And while Hoffman himself is praising the new guy - former federal prosecutor Joe Ferguson - Ferguson's early conciliatory tone is worrisome given the Daley administration's history of being uncooperative and disingenuous when it comes to hiring reform and investigations into its dirty work. After all, Daley has had nothing but positive things to say about the likes of convicted felons Robert Sorich and Al Sanchez.

    Ultimately, though, the question is this: If Daley is such a great, detail-oriented manager, why does he need so many people to oversee and investigate his administration?

    Steve Rhodes is the proprietor of The Beachwood Reporter, a Chicago-centric news and culture review.