Alderman Wants Inspections From Inspector General

Joe Moore moves to end ban on investigations

Alderman Joe Moore is back at it again, so we should be hearing from his arch-nemesis, Ald. Berny Stone soon. And the mayor is up to his old tricks. The topic: reform.

"I announced today that I will introduce an ordinance at next week's City Council meeting to empower the City of Chicago's Inspector General's Office to investigate allegations of wrongdoing brought against aldermen, their staffs and the staffs of the City Council committees," Moore announced in an e-mail to constitutents and on his website Tuesday.

"Chicago is blessed with a conscientious and independent Inspector General, who has aggressively ferreted out corruption, waste and inefficiency in city government since he assumed the post three and a half years ago, saving taxpayers millions of dollars.  In so doing, Inspector General David Hoffman has undertaken the first critical steps to restoring public trust in city government.

"Every sector of city government is subject to his oversight. Every sector, that is, except one - the Chicago City Council."

Backing Moore's measure so far, according to Progress Illinois: Manny Flores, Toni Preckwinkle, Rick Munoz, Scott Waguespack, Pat Dowell, and Sandi Jackson.

That pretty much comprises the independent-minded bloc. Berny Stone, who once threatened to "destroy" the inspector general's office, will no doubt be a vocal leader of the opposition.

More curious is the sly game the mayor is playing. The Tribune reports that the mayor's floor leader, Ald. Patrick O'Connor, has already introduced legislation that would allow the inspector general to investigate the council.

"O'Connor suggested the inspector general answer to an oversight panel formed by aldermen and mayoral appointees," the paper reports.

So the inspector general would report to a panel formed by the very people he is charged with investigating.

Moore has a different idea.

"We must do more to ensure the independence of the Inspector General's office from both the Mayor and the City Council. Currently, the Mayor selects the Inspector General subject to City Council approval. Under my proposal, the Mayor would be required to choose the Inspector General from a list of three finalists selected by an independent panel, consisting of the chief judge of the Cook County Circuit Court, the chief justice of the Illinois Supreme Court, the Cook County state's attorney, the U.S. attorney in Chicago, the agent in charge of the FBI's Chicago office, and the directors of the Chicago Crime Commission and the Better Government Association."

Moore concludes that "We must ensure that the Inspector General is not some handpicked crony of the Mayor of the City Council."

Neither of whom will ever go for it.

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