City Code Requires Mayor to Appoint a Chief Administrative Officer; Longstanding Vacancy in that Position Contributes to Gaps in Interdepartmental Coordination

The City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (OIG) has released an Advisory Concerning Interdepartmental Coordination and the City’s Administrative Officer Position. The advisory was prompted by OIG’s observations across multiple inquiries from 2019 to 2022 of poor coordination among different City departments and resulting losses of efficiency and effectiveness in City services.

In a letter to Mayor Lori Lightfoot dated January 27, 2023, OIG noted these gaps in interdepartmental coordination and that the Municipal Code of Chicago (MCC) requires the Mayor to appoint an administrative officer for City Council confirmation, and enumerates coordination among City departments among the duties of that officer. The administrative officer position has not been filled during the present mayoral administration nor during any recent predecessor administration.

The Mayor’s Office responded on March 13, 2023, questioning the legal requirement for the appointment of an administrative officer; stating that the goal of interdepartmental coordination was being achieved “very effectively” through other staff roles, responsibilities, and procedures; and describing professional administrative management as “an archaic and overly simplistic approach to City management.”

“The law of the City of Chicago requires that the Mayor appoint an administrative officer for confirmation by the City Council. Among that person’s statutory duties is to ensure coordination among City departments. As we’ve seen time and time again in OIG’s recent inquiries, better interdepartmental coordination would result in more effective, efficient City services. We urge the appointment and confirmation of an administrative officer both in pursuit of that goal and because the law plainly requires it,” said Deborah Witzburg, Inspector General for the City of Chicago. “Compliance with the law is not optional even—especially —for City Hall.”

Read the Advisory

Read the full advisory, including the January 27, 2023 IG letter to Mayor Lori Lightfoot and the Mayor’s Office response on March 13, 2023: Advisory Concerning Interdepartmental Coordination and the City’s Administrative Officer Position.


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