OIG Follow-Up Finds That the Department of Human Resources Still Has Not Implemented Procedures and Policies to Ensure all City Employees are Evaluated Annually

The City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (OIG) has completed a follow-up to its October 2020 audit of the Department of Human Resources’ (DHR) management of the City’s employee performance evaluation process. Based on the Department’s responses, OIG concludes that the Department has partially implemented two, and not implemented four, of the six corrective actions.

The 2020 audit found that 13 departments—comprising more than 6,000 City employees—reported they did not conduct annual performance evaluations of all of their employees, and another 7 City departments—comprising more than 10,000 employees—reported they did not conduct any performance evaluations whatsoever.  DHR did not ensure that departments evaluated all employees, and did not clearly define the roles and responsibilities related to performance evaluations required by the City’s Personnel Rules.

OIG made several suggestions to improve DHR’s performance evaluation processes and better promote compliance, such as: develop a Citywide performance evaluation system with standardized procedures to ensure annual evaluation of all employees, while still allowing for customization across the various departments; consider implementing an automated evaluation process and conduct a staffing assessment to determine the number of staff needed to administer the evaluation system; and revise Personnel Rule XIV to define performance evaluation expectations and responsibilities in a clear manner, and report on departmental compliance to the Mayor’s Office.  

In its response to the audit, the DHR indicated that it would make clarifying revisions to Personnel Rule XIV; provide City departments with performance evaluation systems; track performance evaluation completion and provide periodic reports to the Mayor’s Office; and consider implementation of an electronic employee performance evaluation module.

Based on the follow-up response, OIG concludes that the Department has not fully or substantially implemented any of our recommendations, all of which would have assisted the City in having concrete mechanisms and tools to assess the strengths, weaknesses, accountability, and successes of employees on a regular basis. DHR has only identified ways to use existing City IT and data systems to monitor departments’ completion of annual evaluations, but has not yet created or implemented a Citywide evaluation policy, among other unaddressed recommendations.

“A critical part of assessing work performance, duties, responsibilities, and achievements is conducting performance evaluations. This is especially true for government agencies where employees are paid through tax dollars. The public should be assured that those who are employed by the City and working for the benefit of its communities, receive performance evaluations to foster technical and professional development that promotes productivity and a merit-based workplace. This is precisely why the Municipal Code of Chicago mandates regular employee evaluations,” said Inspector General Joe Ferguson. “The Department of Human Resources is specifically charged with responsibility for monitoring and enforcing compliance of individual departments in the execution of this necessary and legally mandated employment practice. We again urge the Department to follow best practices, enforce standards, and implement changes that would benefit the City and its employees as required by the Municipal Code.”

The full report can be found online: bit.ly/DHRFollowUp.

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The mission of the independent and non-partisan City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (OIG) is to promote economy, effectiveness, efficiency, and integrity by identifying corruption, waste, and mismanagement in City government. OIG is a watchdog for the taxpayers of the City and has jurisdiction to conduct investigations and audits into most aspects of City government. If you see corruption, fraud, or waste of any kind, we need to hear from you. For more information, visit our website at: www.igchicago.org.