CHICAGO (CBS) — Members of a City Council reform coalition were banding together to pressure Mayor Rahm Emanuel to reappoint Inspector General Joseph Ferguson to his job, despite his sometimes critical reports on the Emanuel administration.
WBBM Newsradio Political Editor Craig Dellimore reports the mayor has said Ferguson must reapply for the city inspector general’s position, and might not keep it.
Ald. Robert Fioretti (2nd) joined other members of the Progressive Reform Caucus in saying the mayor’s decision should be an easy one.
“We, and the citizens we represent, deserve to have Inspector General Ferguson reappointed,” he said.
In June, the mayor’s office told Ferguson he must reapply for his job. The Emanuel administration pointed to a recent ethics reform that called for the mayor to appoint a five-member panel to search for candidates for inspector general for a four-year term that would be renewed at the mayor’s discretion.
Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) said he’s concerned about Ferguson being told to reapply for a job that was not originally set to expire until November.
“What we want to see is a mayor, in this city, who’s committed, who has the strength to say that I need an inspector general in my government to handle these types of issues, to root out the waste and corruption,” he said. “A strong mayor – a mayor committed to doing that in this day an age – would immediately move forward on reappointing this IG.”
Emanuel and Ferguson have frequently butted heads, such as when Emanuel refused to give the inspector general’s office unrestricted access to city documents, or the power to enforce subpoenas.
The reform caucus has proposed a number of ordinances to strengthen the IG’s office, including giving Ferguson the subpoena power he has sought, and a guaranteed minimum budget.
However, those measures have been bottled up in a committee that was controlled by Emanuel ally Ald. Richard Mell (33rd), until his retirement last month. The Rules and Ethics Committee has met only once since Mell retired, and that was to vote to approve the appointment of his daughter, Deb Mell, as his replacement on the City Council. Ald. Michelle Harris (8th) now chairs the committee.
Ald. Nick Sposato (36th) was asked what it would mean if Ferguson did not keep his job.
“Personally, I don’t want to speculate. I don’t know if any of my colleagues would like to, but we just want this resolved, and move forward,” he said.
Emily Miller, policy coordinator for the Better Government Association, wasn’t so restrained in her assessment of the situation.
“I think it sends a message that he doesn’t actually hold in high esteem the things that Joe Ferguson has done for this city,” she said.