The City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (OIG) has released its first quarter report to City Council, which summarizes the Office’s activity from January 1, 2022 through March 31, 2022. This quarter’s report contains details of concluded investigations, inquiries, and other activities, including:
- An OIG investigation which established that a Department of Streets and Sanitation (DSS) refuse collection coordinator (RCC) verbally threatened a member of the public for taking pictures of the RCC in a DSS vehicle parked in a bike lane. The RCC used their assigned City vehicle to chase the member of the public down multiple streets and confronted the member of the public for taking the pictures. During OIG’s interview, the RCC provided false, inaccurate, and deliberately incomplete statements. OIG recommended that DSS discharge the RCC and refer them for placement on the ineligible for rehire list maintained by DHR. In response, DSS suspended the RCC for 29 days.
- An OIG investigation which established that a Chicago Fire Department (CFD) firefighter, a Department of Water Management (DWM) electrical mechanic and hoisting engineer, and a Department of Buildings (DOB) electrical inspector engaged in interrelated misconduct surrounding the permitting and inspections of various electrical jobs. Specifically, since March 2017, the firefighter had illegally operated an electrical contractor business using the electrical license information of their deceased father. Also, upon the request of the DWM electrical mechanic––who, while working for the City, engaged in unauthorized secondary employment performing electrical work––the firefighter obtained electrical permits from DOB for jobs that the electrical mechanic was, in fact, performing. The electrical mechanic did not have a supervising electrician license. OIG’s investigation also established that a DWM hoisting engineer engaged in authorized secondary employment as the owner of a general contracting company that utilized the electrical mechanic for some of its projects. OIG recommended that CFD discharge the firefighter and refer them for placement on the ineligible for rehire list. OIG recommended that DOB permanently revoke the electrical contractor license for the firefighter’s company, permanently revoke the supervising electrician license for the firefighter’s deceased father, revoke and rescind any electrical permits obtained by the firefighter, and permanently bar the firefighter from obtaining a supervising electrician license in the future. CFD agreed with OIG and initiated discharge proceedings against the firefighter. The firefighter entered leave status prior to the implementation of discipline and their discharge will take effect upon their return. DOB issued a notice of revocation for the electrical contractor license and permanently barred the firefighter from obtaining any future contractor or trade license. OIG would have recommended that DWM discharge the electrical mechanic, however, the employee resigned before OIG completed its investigation. DWM changed the electrical mechanic’s status to “resigned under inquiry,” and referred the electrical mechanic for placement on the ineligible for rehire list. OIG also recommended that DWM impose discipline against the hoisting engineer, commensurate with the gravity of the violations, past disciplinary record, and any other relevant considerations. DWM agreed and issued a written reprimand.
- An OIG Public Safety section evaluation on race- and ethnicity-based disparities in the Chicago Police Department’s (CPD) use of force. OIG found evidence of disparities in some but not all of its separate analyses. Where disparities were identified, they consistently disadvantaged Black people and consistently advantaged White people. The results were mixed for Hispanic people, and the other racial/ethnic groups represented in CPD’s Tactical Response Report (TRR) data—Asian/Pacific Islanders and Native Americans/Alaskan Natives—appear in the data in numbers too small to support strong conclusions about disparities in use of force. OIG separately analyzed TRR data for evidence of race- or ethnicity-based disparities in the level of force CPD members apply to a subject in use-of-force encounters. This analysis showed that, while CPD was more likely to use lower levels of force against all people, Black people generally had higher odds of facing higher-level force options than non-Black people across levels of subject resistance. Among subjects who were reported to have used deadly force, Hispanic people were more likely to face a higher-level force option than non-Hispanic people. Meanwhile, White people were almost never more likely to face a higher-level use of force than non-White people. However, OIG found no evidence of race- or ethnicity-based disparities in force mitigation efforts as reported by officers, nor did OIG find evidence of race- or ethnicity-based disparities in the frequency of application of multiple uses of force against individual subjects in a single incident.
- An OIG Audit and Program Review section evaluation on the City’s compliance with the Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Sunshine Ordinance and the TIF Surplus Executive Order. OIG found that the Department of Planning and Development (DPD) did not provide the public with all of the data required by the Ordinance. The City hosted three separate websites that contained publicly available data on TIF projects and districts; however, none of the websites contained all the data required by the Ordinance. Regarding surplus declaration, in 2020, the City declared a TIF surplus in compliance with the TIF Surplus Executive Order; however, the City limited the amount of funds to be considered for surplus declaration because of budgetary recording errors, lack of project close-out review, and unspent infrastructure funds. OIG recommended that that DPD upload the missing items required by the TIF Sunshine Ordinance and make all TIF data available on a single website and develop a reliable system for managing project progress and documentation. Also, OIG recommended that DPD and the Office of Budget and Management develop guidelines for what expenses may be considered project commitments and release an annual TIF surplus statement describing surplus sources and calculations in detail. The departments agreed with our findings.
- Additional OIG reports including:
- An advisory on issues surrounding the City’s data objectivity, utility, and integrity; a notification regarding the City’s inconsistent policies on how to test and discipline employees for the use of alcohol while on duty, following an employee-involved accident on a runway at Midway International Airport; and a notification regarding ward superintendents reusing old ticket numbers for new weed cutting requests.
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.