Highlights of OIG activity from July 1, 2021 through September 30, 2021, include:
- An OIG investigation which established that a Department of Assets, Information, and Services (AIS) fleet services assistant carried a loaded, semi-automatic firearm into O’Hare International Airport and attempted to pass through the security checkpoint with the firearm in a carry-on backpack on their way to board a flight to New York’s La Guardia Airport. The fleet services assistant did not possess a valid Firearm Owners Identification (FOID) card or a firearm concealed carry license at the time. OIG’s investigation also revealed that the fleet services assistant had been denied a FOID card due to prior criminal convictions. The fleet services assistant was arrested by the Chicago Police Department and criminally charged with weapons-related felonies; they pleaded guilty to a felony charge of boarding or attempting to board an aircraft with a weapon and were sentenced to two years of probation. OIG recommended that AIS discharge the fleet services assistant and refer them for placement on the ineligible for rehire list maintained by the Department of Human Resources (DHR.) In response, AIS disciplined the employee with a written reprimand and stated that the Department was not given permission to terminate under the Illinois Human Rights Act.
- An OIG investigation which established that a firefighter-EMT with the Chicago Fire Department (CFD) made multiple racist and offensive comments in posts on their own Facebook page and in comments to a Facebook post made by a member of the public, in violation of City of Chicago Personnel Rules and CFD General Orders. Comments made by firefighter-EMT assumed that a member of the public and the other commenters on the post were welfare recipients. The firefighter-EMT’s Facebook page revealed multiple racist posts that used derogatory terminology toward minorities and seemingly advocated violence against the public. Additionally, in their posts, the firefighter-EMT drew attention to their own employment––a Facebook profile picture showed them in CFD paraphernalia, their Facebook profile page was publicly available and included information about their employment as a City of Chicago firefighter. Accordingly, OIG recommended CFD discharge the firefighter-EMT and refer them for placement on the ineligible for rehire list maintained by the DHR; CFD agreed with our recommendations. The firefighter-EMT has since grieved their termination.
- Seven Audit and Program Review section reports released this part quarter. This includes audits of the Department of Finance’s municipal depository designation process, DHR’s employee performance evaluations, and the Public Building Commission’s administration of building commissioning, in addition to follow-up reports on the Department of Streets and Sanitation’s weed-cutting program, the Chicago Low-Income Housing Trust Fund’s quality inspections, the Chicago Department of Transportation’s commercial driveway billing, and the Department of Law’s delays in providing notice of sanitation code violations.
- Four reports published this quarter by OIG’s Public Safety section, including:
- An inquiry into the Chicago Police Department’s (CPD) use of ShotSpotter Technology, which found that responses to ShotSpotter alerts rarely produce documented evidence of a gun-related crime, investigatory stop, or recovery of a firearm, and that the technology has changed the way some CPD members perceive and interact with individuals present in areas where ShotSpotter alerts are frequent.
- An evaluation of the demographic impacts of CPD’s hiring process, which found that Black candidates, while comprising 37% of the initial applicant pool, comprised just 18% of the pool of candidates invited to the Academy; that female candidates submitted fewer applications than male candidates at the start of the hiring process, comprising 34% of the initial pool and decreasing throughout the process (comprising only 27% of those invited to the Academy). Also, OIG determined that the standardized test, the physical fitness test, and the background investigation were the stages in the process that most decreased the representation of Black candidates in the candidate pool.
- A follow-up on CPD’s production of records, which concluded that CPD has undertaken almost no corrective actions.
- A CPD budget explainer, which provides stakeholders and taxpayers with basic, foundational information about the City’s Budget process and how CPD’s budget is built.
- An audit by OIG’s Compliance section which concluded that the ward superintendent title does not meet the legal requirements for a Shakman Exempt designation and therefore should be subject to the standards and procedures, as well as political factor prohibitions, under the City’s Hiring Plan.