By Craig Dellimore

CHICAGO (CBS) — A group of Chicago aldermen has announced plans to force a showdown over who will act as the official watchdog over the City Council.

There are some aldermen who want the City Council to have its own dedicated inspector general, although the first and only person appointed to the position was almost powerless, and frequently complained the office was underfunded.

However, Ald. Michele Smith (43rd) said most council members want Chicago Inspector General Joseph Ferguson to be empowered to investigate aldermen and their staffs.

“Now, 27 aldermen are calling for a public vote on merging the offices of the Legislative Inspector General with the Inspector General,” she said.

An ordinance doing just that has been bottled up in committee, and Smith said she’s gathered enough votes from her colleagues to force a floor vote on the proposal.

Joining Smith at City Hall on Wednesday were Aldermen Proco Joe Moreno (1st), Pat Dowell (3rd), Ray Lopez (15th), Michael Scott (24th), Scott Waguespack (32nd), Deb Mell (33rd), Carlos Ramirez Rosa (35th), Gilbert Villegas (36th), James Cappleman (46th), and Joe Moore (49th). Smith said they also had support from Aldermen Brian Hopkins (2nd), Susan Sadlowski Garza (10th), Marty Quinn (13th), Toni Foulkes (16th), Ricardo Munoz (22nd), Milly Santiago (31st), Nick Sposato (38th), Anthony Napolitano (41st), Tom Tunney (44th), John Arena (45th), and Ald. Debra Silverstein (50th).

Pawar said the measure’s time has come.

“We have to stop debating about personalities, stop talking about where individual people stand, and instead focus on structural reform,” he said.

The aldermen plan to call for a vote on the ordinance at next week’s City Council meeting.

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