Mayor Richard M. Daley said today he will propose steps to increase the accountability and transparency of government by moving the City’s hiring compliance, monitoring, and investigative functions to the Office of the Inspector General and by expanding the responsibilities of the IG’s office in several other important ways.
“It's important to me that the people and taxpayers of Chicago know that we're making government more transparent and accountable to them and that when there is misconduct, it will be punished,” Daley said in a City Hall news conference.
The Mayor said his proposal will be submitted Wednesday to the City Council, which must approve the changes.
Daley said he although he believes the City’s Office of Compliance, which was established in 2007 to carry out oversight of the City’s hiring practices was a good model, it did not yield the results he hoped for.
“I am determined to have a hiring system that works and is accountable so that we're getting the best, most qualified employees and taxpayers are getting their money's worth. As Mayor, if something isn’t working as well as you want it to, you must make the changes that are needed,” he said.
The Mayor also said he wants an oversight system that continues to discipline or penalize those who have engaged in misconduct.
In addition to moving hiring compliance responsibilities to the Inspector General’s office, Daley’s proposal:
- Greatly enhances transparency of investigation results and responses – It requires the posting of all investigations that result in sustained findings (without disclosing names) on a regular basis, including the nature of the complaint, the findings, recommendations for discipline or other corrective measures, and the City’s response to the recommendations.
- Requires a minimum funding level to ensure adequate resources are provided to the IG’s office – As a first step, the hiring oversight resources currently located in the Office of Compliance will be transferred to the Office of the Inspector General. Going forward, a minimum appropriation level of approximately one-tenth of one percent of all local operating funds will be required.
- Codifies into IG ordinance existing requirements (per Executive order 2005-2) to report corrupt or criminal activities to the Inspector General - Requires every City officer, employee, department, agency, contractor, subcontractor, and licensee to promptly report to the IG any information regarding corrupt or criminal activity in dealings with the City. A knowing failure to report shall be grounds for termination from employment or contractual services, or other appropriate penalty.
- Codifies into IG ordinance existing requirements (per Executive Order 2005-2) for City response to sustained investigations – Requires 30 day response time (unless a 30-day extension is approved by the IG) for department heads to provide to the IG a description of any disciplinary action taken, and (if applicable) why the department head did not follow the IG’s discipline recommendation.
- Expands to 12 months the reporting requirement regarding investigations not completed – This expands the previous threshold that required the IG to report to the City on investigations not completed within six months.
- Requires IG to adhere to existing hiring plan transparency and reporting requirements – The IG must issue and post online all reports required by the hiring plan, including quarterly and annual reports that include statistics on the number of escalations (as defined in the hiring plan) initiated, pending, closed with investigation, and closed without investigation. The reports must also include a description of the outcomes, findings, recommendations and actions taken by the City in response to the recommendations.
- Allows for prospective investigation of the conduct of City Council Members and their staff – Allows the IG to investigate matters involving the misconduct of Members of City Council and their staff prospectively – after the effective date of the ordinance. Past conduct can be examined only in the course of an investigation that was initiated regarding conduct that occurred after the effective date of the ordinance. Any new referral of information regarding misconduct that occurred prior to the effective date of the ordinance may be referred to the City Council Committee on Committees, Rules, and Ethics for investigation.
Daley pointed out that in making progress toward the goals of increased accountability and transparency of government, many fundamental reforms have already been implemented.
The City instituted a Code of Conduct for all city employees that outlines key rules, policies and ordinances that set a higher standard of conduct.
In addition, the Mayor has issued executive orders that:
- Prohibit any person or business that does business with the city from contributing to his political committee.
- Prohibit political considerations in hiring for Shakman-covered positions;
- Require employees to fully cooperate with the federal hiring monitor and cooperate with and report corrupt or criminal activity to the Inspector General, and
- Prohibit retaliation against any employee for cooperating with the Inspector General and federal hiring monitor.
“I believe today’s proposals are good and responsible steps that taxpayers will appreciate and potential employees will see as fair,” Daley said.
“I want every Chicagoan to have the same chance of getting a job in city government. And, I want misconduct to be dealt with,” he said.