OIG Releases 4th Quarter 2015 Report
The City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (OIG) has transmitted its fourth quarter report for 2015 to the City Council and City officials. The report summarizes the Office’s activity from October 1 through December 31, 2015.
In his cover letter, Inspector General Joe Ferguson notes OIG’s continuing effort to find new forms of engagement in promoting accountable, ethical government, most recently through its participation in the 2015 Procurement Reform Task Force, co-chaired by the Inspector General and the City’s Chief Procurement Officer and comprised of representatives from the City of Chicago and six participating sister agencies—Chicago Public Schools, Chicago Transit Authority, Chicago Housing Authority, City Colleges of Chicago, Chicago Park District, and Public Building Commission. The Task Force is a collaborative multi-agency effort identifying opportunities to standardize, simplify, and consolidate procurement, contract oversight, and compliance mechanisms across the operations of the City and its sister agencies.
The Task Force published its final report in November. The ground-breaking reforms and accountability mechanisms described in the November report were codified through recent Intergovernmental Agreements and legislation, which charges OIG with the responsibility of conducting an annual, independent evaluation of progress in the implementation of the Task Force recommendations.
Also in this Quarter’s Report are summaries of concluded OIG investigations and inquiries, and activities, including:
- An OIG investigation that found a Commission on Animal Care and Control (CACC) employee left a dog in a CACC vehicle for five full five days and nights after an adoption event. The investigation also revealed that a supervising CACC employee’s lack of control over the offsite adoption event contributed to the dog being left undiscovered in the vehicle. CACC suspended the employee who left the dog in the vehicle for 20 days without pay and the supervising employee for 10 days without pay. CACC also suspended a third CACC employee involved in the incident for three days without pay. Finally, CACC informed OIG that, in July and August 2015, it updated its policies in an effort to more accurately track animals going to and from offsite events. The supervising employee appealed the suspension on January 5, 2016.
- An OIG investigation established that a Chicago Police Officer committed perjury and obstruction of justice. The Officer wrote false official reports regarding a 2010 arrest of a man for criminal possession of heroin and then provided false sworn testimony at the resulting preliminary hearing and bench trial. The officer’s official reports and testimony were refuted by a private security video that recorded the events at issue. The arrestee, who was acquitted, later filed a federal civil rights action against the City, and the Officer, which the City settled for $99,000. OIG referred its findings to CPD which filed charges and discharged the officer. On November 19, 2015, the City of Chicago Police Board sustained the discharge. The offending Officer has filed suit in the Circuit Court of Cook County seeking to reverse the discharge.
- An OIG investigation culminated in a formal notification informing the Chicago Fire Department (CFD) that at least 20 firefighters in the Lewis 111 class—see Arthur L. Lewis, Jr. et al. v. City of Chicago, No. 98-C5596 (N.D. Ill. filed Aug. 17, 2011)—had not been medically cleared by a CFD physician prior to starting their employment. This ran counter to both national standards for fire departments and the Department’s own established practice. Two of the 20 improperly cleared members suffered serious medical events and died while off-duty, not long after they began their full duties, highlighting the importance of a CFD physician medically assessing and clearing all new firefighters. OIG strongly urged that CFD consider immediate action to assure that the remaining 18 members were in fact medically fit for duty and that CFD devise and implement a formal medical clearance policy consistent with national standards.
CFD has informed OIG that going forward, CFD is committed to following detailed internal operating procedures (dated June 2015) that follow National Fire Protection Association standards and require that a CFD physician “[m]ake a final medical clearance determination on applicants.”
The full Quarterly Report can be found online at the OIG website: bit.ly/OIG2015Q4