Chicago Water Commissioner Barrett Murphy abruptly resigned on Friday afternoon, and details have begun to emerge over what caused his sudden departure.
According to reports from the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times, Murphy resigned at the request of Mayor Rahm Emanuel after he became aware of an inspector general investigation into alleged racist and sexist emails sent by the former commissioner.
“We were made aware of an IG investigation into the culture at the water department,” Emanuel spokesman Adam Collins told the Tribune. “The mayor acted quickly and decisively, asking for the commissioner’s resignation and appointing a new commissioner to lead the department forward and change the department’s culture.”
Murphy will be replaced by Randy Conner in the role of water commissioner, according to reports. The investigation into the emails centers around Murphy’s failure to discipline employees that were sending the allegedly racist and sexist emails, and the IG investigation has been going on for eight months, according to the Tribune.
“I want to thank Barrett Murphy for his many years of public service, and I wish him well in the future,” Emanuel said in a statement. “Randy Conner’s extensive track record of experience strengthening City infrastructure and improving City services for residents will allow him to hit the ground running at the Department of Water Management.”
Murphy is just the latest in a run of high-profile officials to leave the water department this week. William Bresnahan, the agency’s deputy commissioner, also resigned, as did Paul Hansen, a district superintendent of water distribution.