Highlights of OIG activity from January 1, 2019, through March 31, 2019, are summarized below:
- An OIG investigation established that Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) police communications operators (PCOs) used intermittent FMLA leave to take a Caribbean cruise together. They submitted doctor’s notes for bedrest, flare-ups of a medical condition, and surgical procedures to justify using FMLA leave, but while on the cruise, the PCOs consumed alcohol, went to numerous restaurants, attended night clubs, toured Caribbean islands, went horseback riding, rode jet skis, and even went on a “booze cruise.” OEMC agreed with OIG’s recommendations and discharged three of the employees, while a fourth resigned in lieu of discharge.
- An OIG investigation established that a CFD paramedic used excessive force on a patient, quickly and forcefully twisted the patient’s head more than 90 degrees up against a wall, while unsuccessfully attempting to persuade the patient to consent to treatment. The paramedic’s use of force contravened CFD training—and exposed the City to potential liability—as it escalated the interaction to a physical confrontation that resulted in the patient being tased by a CPD officer. While CFD concurred with OIG’s findings, it concluded that the appropriate penalty was a written reprimand.
- An OIG investigation established that a parking enforcement aide working for a City contractor forcefully grabbed and shoved an individual while a second contract parking enforcement employee observed the incident. The Department of Finance agreed with OIG’s findings and terminated the parking enforcement aide’s employment and issued the second parking enforcement employee a written warning and a two-day suspension
- An OIG investigation resulted in the federal indictment of John McClendon, owner and president of McClendon Holdings LLC, for defrauding the City of Chicago by falsifying price increases in two City contracts for the Department of Water and Department of Transportation. McClendon allegedly requested a price increase from the City on both contracts despite not having incurred any increases in the cost of raw materials. Without the supplier’s knowledge, McClendon forged and fabricated letters that were purported to be from his suppliers in order to support the proposed price increases. He then submitted these letters to the City in an attempt to increase profits.
- An OIG notification regarding whether an alderman improperly attempted to influence the Department of Water Management’s (DWM) efforts to discipline one of its employees during a meeting by asking whether DWM was obligated to follow disciplinary recommendations. While the alderman’s statements did not significantly influence the administration of discipline, the alderman’s conduct is inconsistent with the City’s prohibition against political and other improper considerations in hiring and employment actions. OIG recommended that the City Council Committee on Committees, Rules and Ethics advise all City of Chicago aldermen that they should refrain from attempting to influence or interfering with disciplinary decisions concerning employees that are not under their supervision or control.