Frequently Asked Questions

General

What is the Office of Inspector General’s (OIG) mission?
OIG is an independent, nonpartisan oversight agency whose mission is to promote economy, effectiveness, efficiency, and integrity in the administration of programs and operation of City government.

How does OIG achieve its mission?
OIG achieves its mission through:

  • Administrative and criminal investigations
  • Audits of City programs and operations
  • Reviews of City programs, operations, and policies

From these activities, OIG issues reports of findings and recommendations that ensure City officials, employees, and vendors are held accountable for the provision of efficient, cost-effective, government operations. OIG further seeks to prevent, detect, identify, expose, and eliminate waste, inefficiency, misconduct, fraud, corruption, and abuse of public authority and resources.

What is OIG’s jurisdiction?
OIG has oversight of all City employees, elected officials (the Mayor, Aldermen, the City Clerk, and the City Treasurer), appointed officials, and contractors and vendors who provide goods and services to the City. OIG also has jurisdiction over any sister agency pursuant to an intergovernmental agreement authorized by the City Council.

What makes OIG different from other City departments?
OIG operates separate and apart from the rest of City government. It does not operate under the direction of the Mayor or any other official or component of City government, under leadership with a legal defined term separate from all elected officials, and with a budget protected by law to prevent retaliation by those over whom it exercises its investigative and audit authority.

What are the powers and duties of OIG?
OIG derives its authority and mandate from the OIG Ordinance, which provides authority to (among other things):

  • Investigate allegations of wrongdoing, audit, or review City programs to identify inefficiency, waste and potential for misconduct, and hold public hearings as appropriate.
  • Issue subpoenas for testimony or documents relevant to an investigation.
  • Monitor and audit City employment actions under the Hiring Plan and conduct inquiries into allegations of non-compliance with the Hiring Plan.

What are the different sections of the OIG, and what do they do?

  • Audit and Program Review, which evaluates the effectiveness and efficiency of the operations of City’s agencies and programs.
  • Investigations, which conducts investigations into allegations of criminal activity, fraud, waste, and abuse.
  • Hiring Oversight, which reviews, monitors, and audits key activities and processes under the City of Chicago’s court-ordered hiring plans.
  • Public Safety, which conducts inspections, evaluations and reviews of operations and actions of the Chicago Police Department, the Civilian Office of Police Accountability, and the Chicago Police Board.

The work of these sections is additionally supported by a Legal section made up of Assistant Inspector Generals who provide legal counsel to each of the aforementioned sections, and a Center for Information Technology and Analytics which provides technical forensic and data analytical services and manages OIG’s structural and operational IT infrastructure.

How is the Inspector General appointed?
The Inspector General (IG) is selected by the Mayor from a list of candidates provided following a national search conducted by a blue-ribbon panel, and subject to the approval of the City Council following a public hearing. The IG’s term runs independent of the term of the Mayor and City Council.

Can the IG be removed from office prior to the expiration of the four-year term?
The IG may be removed prior to the expiration of the four-year term only “for cause” and subject to a City Council hearing and majority vote.

How is the Inspector General held accountable?
The IG and OIG are held accountable by subjecting its work to public and City Council scrutiny by publishing its work to the extent allowed by law and by subjecting itself to a periodic external peer review by a national oversight association which independently audits and publicly certifies OIG’s actions, policies, and practices.

How are funds appropriated to OIG?
OIG has a legally protected budget to assure its work and independence cannot be impacted through retaliatory diminution of its budget. This takes the form of an ordinance-mandated budget floor under which the OIG must receive no less than 0.14% of the total annual City budget.

Are OIG’s investigations confidential?
By law, OIG investigatory files and reports are confidential and shall not be divulged except to law enforcement entities or appropriate officials in the context of cases where it has found violations of regulations, policy or law warranting disciplinary action.

Are City departments required to respond to OIG’s disciplinary recommendations?
City departments are generally required to respond to OIG disciplinary recommendations within 30 days (which may be extended by request for no more than 30 additional days).

Which City employees have a duty to cooperate with OIG?
All City officials, employees, departments, agencies, contractors, subcontractors, licensees, and applicants for certifications must cooperate with OIG in any investigation or hearing.

Are City employees responsible for reporting the wrongdoing of other City workers?
The law requires every City employee to report wrongdoing of which they are aware to OIG. Failure to report wrongdoing may be grounds for disciplinary action up to and including discharge.

What does the Center for Information Technology and Analytics (CITA) do?

  • Analytics: Compiling, cleaning, and transforming large data sets into information, statistical models, trends, predictions, and analyses that enable OIG to develop investigative leads, conduct citywide audits and program reviews, and monitor citywide hiring practices by supporting data-driven decisions in order to drive change to increase efficiency and effectiveness within City government.
  • Compiling large data sets to develop cases, conduct citywide program reviews and audits, and monitor citywide hiring practices.
  • Database Management: creating, retrieving, updating and managing data.
  • Forensics: eDiscovery and computer forensics, which consists of imaging hard drives, optical media, external hard drives, and flash drives, as well as other electronic storage devices. Forensics is usually performed on any of the mentioned formats when there is suspicion that a City employee may be committing fraud, discrimination, sexism, financial crimes, or any other accusation that may go against City policies and procedures.
  • Infrastructure and Security: managing the office infrastructure and monitoring and preventing any intrusions, attacks, or exploits that may cause a shut down or disconnection.
  • IT Support: software and hardware support, re-imaging computers, and day-to-day server patching and monitoring to ensure there is no down time for server repairs and failure.
  • Web Development: building and deploying small, lightweight applications designed to encourage storing information on City servers instead of desktop files.

Careers

Do I get notified and/or updated after I apply for a position?
No, our system will not automatically notify you or keep you updated of your application. If you require a status update on your application please call the OIG main line at (773) 478-7799 and ask to speak to Human Resources.

How do I know if I was selected for a position?
You will be contacted via telephone or email.

What should I do if a position I am interested is not currently available?
We strongly encourage you to join our Career Interest Mailing List where you can provide basic contact information and upload your resume. Completing this form will subscribe you to a mailing list for notifying you of openings for the positions you specify. It does not constitute an application for any position but assures you will be notified when we are accepting applications. We will not accept applications sent to our mailing list email address.

Can I mail or drop off a hard copy of my application at your location?
No, OIG does not accept hard copy applications. All applications must be submitted electronically, before the specified deadline.

Will I be considered for an interview if my application is incomplete?
No, incomplete applications will not be reviewed.

What is OIG’s hiring policy?
OIG publicly posts job openings on its website, the City’s job portal, and other third-party job sites. For most positions, after the posting period has closed, a screening committee reviews the applications to eliminate applicants who do not meet the minimum qualifications specified in the job posting, and from that pool applicants are selected for an interview conducted by a panel of staff members. The applicant’s materials and summaries of first round interviews are presented to a Hiring Committee constituted of senior management which recommends finalists, who are interviewed by the Inspector General who makes the final hiring decision.

How many employees does OIG currently have?
OIG has 97 full-time salaried positions budgeted for the 2018 fiscal year.

How often does OIG hire?
OIG hires regularly, but only for positions in which there is a vacancy. The hiring process typically begins shortly after a vacancy opens.

What does a writing sample require?
The ideal writing sample is a relatively recent self-generated (i.e., not heavily edited or re-written by a third party) product of sufficient length to demonstrate writing skills of a nature called for by the position one is seeking. Examples of commonly submitted writing samples include: an academic paper, a published document, commentary, blog copy, or professional report (redacted as appropriate).

Audit & Program Review

What is the role of the Audit & Program Review section?
Audit & Program Review (APR) conducts independent, objective analyses and evaluations of City programs and operations, issues public reports, and makes recommendations to strengthen and improve the delivery of City services by evaluating the effectiveness, efficiency, economy, and integrity of City operations.

What is a performance audit?
A performance audit is an evaluation of City programs or functions against criteria, conducted according to Government Auditing Standards, as set by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO).

What are some of the skills we look for in an APR Analyst?

  • Ability to assess computer system controls
  • Ability to collaborate with co-workers in a team-based environment
  • Ability to write clearly and concisely for a general audience
  • Attention to detail
  • Evidence-based reasoning and critical thinking
  • Facility with advanced data analysis techniques and specialized software
  • Facility with Microsoft Office software and basic electronic data analysis techniques
  • Facility with statistical sampling principles and methods
  • Knowledge of accounting principles and methods
  • Knowledge of (and adherence to) Government Auditing Standards
  • Knowledge of basic governmental organization, budgeting, and legal framework
  • Knowledge of business operation principles and methods
  • Knowledge of fraud prevention and detection techniques
  • Knowledge of performance measurement principles and methods
  • Knowledge of specialized City databases
  • Knowledge of specific City programs
  • Project management and organizational skills, including setting and meeting deadlines
  • Strong interviewing and oral communication skills

Does APR have an audit plan?
Yes, APR creates an annual audit plan from ideas generated from previous OIG work, as well as suggestions from the City Council and the public. To find out about recent, pending, and upcoming audits for the year, see the 2018 APR Audit Plan.

How can I provide audit suggestions?
Public input and suggestions are important to us. We strongly encourage you to submit suggestions anytime by emailing us at: OIGNoticeandComment@igchicago.org, or via our website form.

Does APR track and report on whether a department has implemented recommendations?
Yes. APR typically conducts a follow-up 6-9 months after it has issued an audit report. The resulting follow-up report details whether, and the extent to which, a department has implemented corrective actions in response to audit recommendations.

Do all audits result in a full audit report?
No. In the course of an audit OIG may determine that the costs of continuing with an audit outweigh the expected benefits to the City or the public, or that a full audit is not necessary to apprise the City of issues indicated by the audit in progress. OIG may issue an advisory, which is a limited scope analysis with suggestions for City management’s consideration. Advisories (with City responses) are published in full on our website.

What does OIG do when it sees a problem beyond the scope of its audit?
When OIG sees an operational problem or concern outside the subject matter scope of an audit (or investigation) it issues a Notification in the form of a short letter to a department(s) and/or the Mayor’s Office highlighting an issue or risk warranting attention from the City. Notifications (with City responses) are publicly reported out in summary form in the next ensuing OIG Quarterly Report.

Hiring Oversight

What is the role of the Hiring Oversight section?
Hiring Oversight reviews, monitors, and audits key processes in the City of Chicago’s hiring plans. These include:

    • The General Hiring Plan
    • The Chicago Fire Department Hiring Plan for Uniformed Positions
    • The Chicago Police Department Hiring Plan for Sworn Titles
    • The Department of Law Hiring Process (included in the General Hiring Plan)
    • OIG Hiring Procedures

Hiring Oversight receives and investigates complaints regarding the hiring process, including allegations of unlawful political discrimination and other improper considerations or influence in connection with any aspect of City hiring and other employment actions. Hiring Oversight also receives and reviews escalations from the Department of Human Resources regarding anomalies that occur during a hiring process.

How are the results of Hiring Oversight’s work communicated?
Hiring Oversight activities, such as audits and hiring compliance reviews, are published in OIG Quarterly Reports.

How does Hiring Oversight contribute to good government?
Hiring Oversight ensures that City managers and personnel are held responsible to transparent and fair employment practices throughout the City.

What should be reported to Hiring Oversight?
You should report any observations, questions or concerns about procedural improprieties, bias or favoritism in hiring or promotional actions.

How can I contact Hiring Oversight?
You can report complaints related to the hiring process online or by calling (866) 448-4754.

Investigations

What is the role of the Investigations section?
The section investigates City officials, employees, functions, and programs to detect and prevent misconduct, inefficiency, and waste within the programs and operations of City government. OIG is authorized to conduct administrative and criminal investigations, and may work jointly with local, state, and federal law enforcement entities.

What is an OIG investigation?
An investigation is the process by which OIG gathers facts and analyzes evidence to determine whether a law, rule (including the City’s Personnel Rules), or regulation has been violated. An investigation may require interviews of witnesses and subjects, review and analysis of documents, and/or surveillance, depending on the allegation. By ordinance, all OIG investigations are confidential and as such, OIG neither confirms nor denies the existence of an investigation.

How does OIG initiate an investigation?
OIG initiates investigations of its own volition and in response to complaints or suggestions from the general public, City employees, and contractors regarding misconduct, waste, fraud, and abuse in connection with City operations and business. Complaints may be made anonymously. Our complaint line is staffed by Intake Specialists from 8:30 a.m. through 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. For calls outside of business hours, you will be referred to voicemail where you may leave allegations, information, and contact information if you wish to be contacted by an Intake Specialist the following day. Please click here to access our 24/7 online complaint form.

Complaints are reviewed and assessed to determine their significance when measured against OIG’s priorities, the credibility of the complainant and the information provided, the existing availability of investigative resources, the office resources that will likely be required to prove or disprove the complaint, the likely benefits from an investigation if found sustained, and the extent to which the opening of an additional investigation may adversely impact the existing case work of OIG investigators. Following this review, three actions may be taken: (a) open an investigation, (b) refer the matter to the appropriate City department, another OIG section, the appropriate sister agency, or the appropriate federal, state, or local law enforcement authorities for investigation or other appropriate action, or (c) decline to investigate for one or more reasons.

Complaints alleging ethics ordinance violations will also be reviewed to determine if they should be opened, referred, or declined. However, by law these complaints may only be declined if the complaint “lacks foundation” or “does not relate to a violation of the Governmental Ethics Ordinance.” In addition, ethics ordinance complaints may only be referred to the employee’s supervisor if “the potential violation is minor and can be resolved internally as a personnel matter.”

Who conducts OIG investigations?
OIG is staffed with trained and experienced investigators with diverse educational, technical, and professional backgrounds in law enforcement, accounting, journalism, and law.

How long does it take to complete an investigation?
A number of factors impact the length of time it takes to complete a thorough investigation, including the nature of the allegation, the number of interviews required, documents analyzed to identify facts, availability of resources, the degree of cooperation, and other factors. OIG is committed to completing investigations as expeditiously as possible. The duration and timing of the conclusions of criminal investigations are subject to the decisions of prosecutors who direct OIG in such matters.

What kind of cooperation is required for OIG investigations?
Officials, employees, departments, agencies, contractors, subcontractors, and licensees of the City have a duty to cooperate with any OIG investigation. Cooperation includes: being truthful, candid, and forthcoming when interviewed and providing any requested records. Each department’s premises, equipment, personnel, books, records and papers shall be made available as soon as practicable. To prevent even the appearance that one is withholding pertinent information, those involved should avoid narrowly construing interview questions or record requests, and promptly provide requested records. Even when only a general question is posed, the response should include any specific information that may potentially be relevant.

Can a City employee decline to answer OIG questions?
If a City employee is advised that an interview is voluntary, they may invoke their Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. However, if they are advised that the matter is administrative in nature, that their answers may not be used against them in a subsequent criminal prosecution, and that they have a duty to cooperate, they must answer OIG questions. A failure to do so subjects the employee to potential disciplinary action up to and including termination.

Can a department or City attorney represent a City employee in an interview?
No. Government attorneys represent the agency and the City as a whole and may not provide legal counsel to an individual employee in an OIG investigation. Employees may retain a private attorney to represent them during an OIG interview.

What is the role of a union representative or private counsel during an OIG interview?
Any request for a union representative or private counsel must not cause unreasonable delay to an OIG interview. If an employee elects to bring a representative, that representative may not answer questions and may not obstruct the interview. Employees will be permitted to take reasonable breaks to consult with their representative. Representatives may be permitted to clarify questions and may provide additional information at the conclusion of the interview.

Can a City employee audio/video record an OIG interview?
No. However it is the policy of OIG to seek to audio record subject interviews. Prior to the interview, the employee is asked if he/she will consent to do so. In the alternative, OIG may elect, in its discretion, to utilize an independent, certified court reporter to document the interview. In that instance, the employee’s consent is not required. If a witness or subject wishes to provide additional information or documentation to OIG following an interview, he or she may submit such materials to OIG for inclusion with the investigative file. In such cases, the person is advised to maintain a copy of whatever materials he or she provides to OIG.

Can a City employee discuss an OIG investigation with others?
Following an interview, it is inappropriate to discuss the nature of the questions or the content of the interview with other witnesses, or any party who may have potential involvement in the matter under investigation. If employees have any question about whether they can discuss that matter with someone, they should contact OIG before making such disclosures. By the same rationale, it is improper for management to question someone about the nature or content of an interview. Management has a greater responsibility to avoid any action that would create a chilling effect on employee cooperation with an OIG investigation.

Public Safety

What is the role of the Public Safety section?
Public Safety initiates reviews and audits of the Chicago Police Department (CPD), the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA), and the Chicago Police Board, in an effort to increase public safety, promote constitutional policing practices that safeguard civil liberties and civil rights, and ensure the accountability of the police force, thus building stronger police-community relations.

How does Public Safety fulfill its role?
Public Safety reviews and audits the policies, procedures, programs, and practices of CPD, COPA, and the Chicago Police Board. It collects and analyzes data from those entities, issues public reports about a wide variety of topics related to policing and police accountability, and makes recommendations for improvements.

How is Public Safety organized?
Public Safety is comprised of an Analysis Unit, which conducts program- and systems-focused analytical and evaluative work, and a Forensic Audit Investigations Unit, which conducts reviews and evaluations of CPD’s accountability systems, including closed investigations of the Bureau of Internal Affairs (BIA) and COPA.

How does Public Safety differ from COPA, BIA, and the Chicago Police Board?
Public Safety exercises independent civilian oversight of CPD, including BIA, COPA, and the Chicago Police Board. Its jurisdiction allows it to conduct inspections, evaluations, and reviews of the the processes, functions, operations, and policies of all of those agencies. This jurisdiction allows Public Safety to look at systemic issues, whereas COPA, BIA, and the Chicago Police Board primarily focus on individual conduct and performance in the context of disciplinary investigations. In addition to investigations, both COPA and Public Safety are empowered to review CPD’s policies and procedures. COPA’s policy reviews and examinations of pattern and practice stem from its investigative work. Public Safety’s jurisdiction covers the whole policing and police oversight system, so the section reviews systemic issues in all three agencies: COPA, CPD, and the Chicago Police Board, including issues beyond use-of-force and police misconduct.

Does Public Safety take complaints?
Complaints, issues, and suggestions you wish to bring to the attention of Public Safety may be submitted through the OIG tipline or online complaint form where they will be evaluated, acted on, or referred to the appropriate body or agency.

How does Public Safety decide to review closed cases or conduct evaluations or reviews?
Public Safety’s work is shaped by our ordinance. Ordinance-mandated inspections or reviews of closed matters tied to police disciplinary and accountability systems are generally performed by Public Safety’s Inspections Unit, which also conducts pattern and trend analysis of disciplinary investigative outcomes for matters handled by BIA, COPA and the Police Board. Evaluations and reviews of broader operations, functions, programs, policies, procedures, and practices of CPD (as well as BIA, COPA, and the Chicago Police Board) are typically performed by Public Safety’s Evaluations Unit (at times in conjunction with the Inspections Unit) with ideas coming from a variety of sources, including complaints, comments, and ideas suggested by community members.

Does Public Safety consider recommendations from other reviews of CPD?
Yes, Public Safety considers all types of reports, including studies, investigations, and legal findings, related to CPD, COPA, and the Chicago Police Board. Some of these include: the U.S. Department of Justice’s “Investigation of the Chicago Police Department,” the Police Accountability Task Force Report, and reports by community groups, such as the Grassroots Alliance on Police Accountability Report.

How can community members participate in the work of Public Safety?
Public Safety welcomes the involvement of all community members, police department members, and other stakeholders. We rely on public input to drive our work, so we encourage all members of the City to share their thoughts, observations, and ideas with us. You can submit suggestions and comments online or by calling (866) 448-4754. Suggestions and comments can be made anonymously.

How will a consent decree affect the landscape of police accountability in Chicago?
A consent decree might obligate CPD and the City to make specific changes to their policies, procedures, and practices. The work of OIG and Public Safety may be expected to proceed both independently and in coordination with the consent decree, in support of the work of the court-appointed monitor.

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