Inspector General Joe Ferguson’s office released a list of potential investigation targets and is taking public suggestions for investigative audits this upcoming fiscal year ahead of the release of the OIG’s annual plan, which is tied to passage of the City’s budget.
Yesterday the office released 25 projects it is considering pursuing, and asked Chicagoans to pitch in with their own at the OIG’s website. On the regulatory front, the office is considering targeting the Department of Planning and Development’spossible under-enforcement of the Affordable Requirement Ordinance, overspending on the building and rehab of affordable housing in multi-family developments, unremediated building code violations that led to “several fatalities” in 2014, the fact that more than 75,000 cited electrical violations haven’t been fixed, whether the Chicago Department of Public Health has adequately taken on the responsibilities of the City’s now-shuttered Department of Environment, and City employers not paying contractors the minimum $13 per hour required by municipal code.
Gaps in community services make the list too, from a lack of access to City services for limited English speakers, to whether new developers comply with disability requirements. Ferguson’s office is also considering if there’s fair and efficient staffing at public libraries and whether tons of construction waste is ending up in landfills when it could be recycled.
The Chicago Police Department is also a potential target for audit. The IG’s office lists several projects, including a closer look at whether dashboard cams are functioning and if footage is archived properly, as well as intervention for at-risk officers. While overtime for Chicago police has been the target of public scrutiny, even at Monday’s budget hearing, the OIG is considering taking a closer look at firefighter overtime.
Ferguson’s past reports on city government waste and inefficiency has led the Mayor’s Office of Budget and Management to make changes in this year’s budget, including with garbage pickup. It’s also inspired several revenue generating pitches from members of the Progressive Caucus, who has said the OIG should conduct regular audits of every City department.
The Annual Plan from OIG is reviewed, updated, and published no later than four weeks after Council passes the annual City Budget Appropriation. Audit projects are selected based on risk assessment of programs and services, the unique value the OIG’s office can provide as a government insider, the need for a follow-up on past reports, and/or what resources the office has. You can email your audit suggestions to OIGNoticeandComment@ChicagoInspectorGeneral.org.