Joseph M. FergusonInspector General
Sabreena El-AminDiversity, Equity, and Inclusion Director
Natalie A. KuriataDirector (Communications and Outreach)
William MarbackDeputy Inspector General (Investigations)
Chris NorborgAssociate General Counsel (Legal)
Cynthia ParkDeputy Inspector General (Operations)
Lise ValentineDeputy Inspector General (APR)
Nate WackmanAssistant General Counsel (Public Safety)
Deborah WitzburgDeputy Inspector General (Public Safety)
Joseph M. Ferguson
Joseph M. Ferguson, Inspector General
Joseph Ferguson is currently in his third term as Chicago’s Inspector General. Prior to becoming Inspector General, Ferguson spent 15 years with the United States Attorney’s Office (USAO) for the Northern District of Illinois. Ferguson was a Chief of the USAO’s Money Laundering and Forfeiture Section and a Deputy in the Complex Fraud and Financial Crimes Section, where he directed cases related to terrorism financing, government program, health care and bank fraud cases. He represented the federal government at the trial court level before the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois and in appeals before the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals. His work included: public corruption, health care fraud, labor racketeering, and terrorism, as well as gun, narcotics, and drug-related violent crime cases. His earlier work as a Civil Division attorney included affirmative civil fraud litigation under the False Claims Act, employment discrimination (Title VII), civil rights, and environmental law. He has also served as counsel on environmental enforcement and death penalty matters brought before the United States Supreme Court.
During Ferguson’s tenure, the Office of Inspector General has grown into one of the nation’s leading municipal oversight agencies through the evolution of its Audit & Program Review Section (APR), and the creation of its Center for Information Technology & Analytics (CITA) and Public Safety Section, while continuing the impactful administrative and criminal Investigations section work. Ferguson was co-chair of the Chicago Procurement Reform Task Force (PRTF) that reported out opportunities for the City and its sister agencies to uniformly implement best practices for awarding, managing, and overseeing public contracts. This resulted in the creation of a committee of CPOs (Chief Procurement Officers) that was charged with addressing the Task Force’s recommendations, tracking their implementation, and issuing quarterly and annual reports.
Amidst a public outcry for real and lasting change in local law enforcement, Ferguson was named to the Police Accountability Task Force (PATF). Charged with developing comprehensive findings with specific recommendations for change within the Chicago Police Department in the short, interim, and long-term, the PATF developed pragmatic and transparent recommendations for reform that, among other things, resulted in a duly empowered independent civilian investigative police oversight agency–the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA)–and a dedicated Police Inspector General Office.
Ferguson is a lecturer at Loyola University Chicago School of Law as well as the co-director of its National Security and Civil Rights Program. He previously served as an instructor at the Department of Justice’s National Advocacy Center, which provides training for federal, state, and local prosecutors and investigative agencies. He has been a member of the Executive Committee for the Board of Directors for the Association of Inspectors General and a member of the Data Analytic Working Group at the Center for the Advancement of Public Integrity at Columbia Law School. Ferguson received a BA from Lake Forest College and a JD from Northwestern University School of Law.
Sabreena joined the Office of Inspector General in 2021 as Director for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. She is an attorney with an extensive background in labor and employment law, including litigating and advising on various discrimination matters. Her volunteer, educational, and employment experience mirror her devotion to issues at the confluence of criminal justice, racial equity, community development, psychology, and the law. She has also shown a commitment to the public service including through her experience with the Public Interest Law Initiative where she served as an intern, fellow, board member, and co-chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Working Group. El-Amin is a native of Chicago’s South Side and a graduate of Whitney Young High School. She earned a BA in Psychology from DePaul University and a JD from Harvard Law School, where she served as a contributor and editor of the Journal of Racial and Ethnic Justice.
Natalie A. Kuriata
Natalie A. Kuriata, Director of Communications and Outreach
Natalie A. Kuriata joined the Office of Inspector General in 2017 as Communications Coordinator and currently serves as Director of Communications and Outreach. She previously served as Public Information Officer for Cook County. Prior to that, Kuriata worked for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office—the UK government department responsible for protecting and promoting British interests worldwide—as Deputy Head of Corporate Services at the British Consulate in Chicago and as a Policy and Public Affairs Associate in San Francisco. She earned a B.A. in Communications-Journalism from DePaul University.
William Marback, Deputy Inspector General, Investigations
William Marback joined the Office of Inspector General in 2000 after serving as an Assistant State’s Attorney with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office from 1989 to 1993, where he was assigned to the Appellate Division, Narcotics Prosecution Unit, Felony Review Unit, Preliminary Hearings/Grand Jury Unit, and Felony Trial Division. Prior to that, he worked as an Associate Attorney in the litigation groups at the law firm of Hoffman, Burke, and Bozick and the law firm of Freeborn and Peters. Marback earned a BA from Loyola University and a JD from DePaul University College of Law.
Chris Norborg, Associate General Counsel
Chris Norborg joined the Office of Inspector General in 2016 after three years as a Senior Assistant Corporation Counsel with the City of Chicago Law Department’s Legal Counsel Division. From 2005 to 2013, he worked for the Law Department’s Appeals Division, representing Chicago and its employees in federal and state appellate courts. Prior to joining the City, he clerked for Judge Richard C. Tallman of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Seattle, Washington. Norborg earned a BA from the University of Notre Dame and a JD from Northwestern University School of Law.
Cynthia Park, Deputy Inspector General of Technology and Operations
Cynthia Park joined the Office of Inspector General in 2020 as Deputy Inspector General of Technology and Operations. Previously, she worked at the Illinois Housing Development Authority as the IT Purchasing Lead. She has held numerous senior management positions, including (but not limited to): Cook County Deputy Chief Procurement Officer, Office of the Chief Procurement Officer; Cook County Director of Finance and Administration, Bureau of Technology; and City of Chicago Deputy Commissioner of Management, Program and Policy, Department of Housing. In these management roles, she developed, reviewed, and monitored budgets and expenditures; drafted job descriptions; managed hiring plans; implemented new program procedures; and managed the monitoring and reporting requirements for various affordable housing programs. In recent years, her focus has shifted to assisting public sector information technology teams to determine sourcing strategies and find technology solutions, services, and products in accordance with public procurement rules and procedures. She is also a Certified Planner and a member of the American Planning Association and at the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP). Park has a BA in Political Science and an MA in Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Lise Valentine, Deputy Inspector General for APR
Lise Valentine joined the Office of Inspector General in 2011 after serving as Vice President and Director of Research at the Civic Federation, a non-partisan governmental research organization, where she conducted and led research on government efficiency, transparency, and tax policy. She has taught state and local public finance for the Master of Public Administration Program at the University of Illinois at Chicago and is the Course Manager and an instructor for the Certified Inspector General Auditor® course at the Inspector General Institute®. She has also served as a trustee of the Governmental Research Association, an elected Commissioner and Treasurer of the Park District of Oak Park, a board member for the Association of Inspectors General, and represents the Association of Local Government Auditors on the Governmental Accounting Standards Advisory Council. She is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Internal Auditor, and a Certified Inspector General Auditor®. Valentine earned a BA in Humanistic Studies from McGill University, an MS in Accountancy from DePaul University, and a PhD in Communication Studies from the University of Iowa
Nate Wackman joined the Office of Inspector General in 2020 as Associate General Counsel for Public Safety. Prior to joining OIG, he was an Associate at Jenner & Block LLP in Chicago from 2016 to 2020, and served as a law clerk to Judge Edith H. Jones of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. Prior to law school, Wackman was a police officer with the Houston Police Department. Wackman earned a BA in History from the University of Chicago and a JD from the University of Illinois College of Law.
Deborah Witzburg, Deputy Inspector General, PS
Deborah Witzburg currently serves as the Deputy Inspector General for Public Safety, having joined the Office of Inspector General in 2016 as an Assistant Inspector General, where she provided legal and strategic counsel for investigations of misconduct by City of Chicago employees. She also served as OIG’s Chief Investigator for the Public Safety section, where she led efforts to screen and review closed police disciplinary cases as well as evaluations of COPA, BIA and the Police Board, as well as OIG’s Associate General Counsel for Public Safety, where she advised on legal and constitutional matters related to oversight of Chicago’s police and police accountability agencies. Witzburg previously served as an Assistant State’s Attorney for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, where she prosecuted a wide range of misdemeanor and felony cases. She served in the State’s Attorney’s Community Justice Center, focusing on the vertical prosecution of cases of greatest concern in Chicago’s 11th and 12th police districts. There she helped develop and institute crime prevention programs in partnership with schools, senior citizens’ groups, and neighborhood organizations. Witzburg is accredited as a Certified Practitioner of Oversight by the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement. Witzburg earned a BA in Anthropology from Brown University and a JD from Northwestern University School of Law
Cynthia BryantChief Investigator (Investigations)
Megan CarlsonChief Investigator (Public Safety)
Ahmed JirChief Technology Officer (CITA)
Darwyn JonesChief Performance Analyst (APR)
Robert OwensChief Performance Analyst (Public Safety)
Kate SimonChief Performance Analyst (Public Safety)
Keyla Vazquez, SHRM-CPSupervisor (Personnel Services)
Melissa VillaChief Forensic Data Analyst (CITA)
Cynthia Bryant, Chief Investigator, Investigations
Cynthia Bryant joined the Office of Inspector General in 2016 as an Investigator II and currently serves as Chief Investigator. Previously she served as a Profit Assurance Investigator with 7-Eleven, where she worked on investigations closely with local and federal law enforcement. Prior to that, Bryant worked as a Loss Prevention Manager at Sears Holding Corporation covering Chicago to Indianapolis. In that role, she managed the Loss Prevention team and conducted internal and external investigations, completed shrink analyses, and managed store safety programs. She is a Certified Inspector General Investigator, Certified Fraud Examiner, and holds an Illinois Private Investigation License. Bryant earned a BA in Justice Studies from Northeastern Illinois University and an MA in Criminology from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Megan Carlson, Chief Investigator, Public Safety
Megan Carlson joined the Office of Inspector General in 2019 as Chief Investigator for Public Safety. Previously, Carlson served as an Investigator V with the Cook County Office of the Independent Inspector General, where she supervised the work of other investigators. Prior to that, she served as an Assistant State’s Attorney with the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office. While there, she worked in the Domestic Violence Division and Felony Review Unit, among others. She is also a Certified Fraud Examiner. Carlson earned a BA from Denison University and a JD from DePaul University College of Law.
Ahmed Jir, Chief Technology Officer
Ahmed Jir joined the Office of Inspector General in 2012 as a Forensic Audit Investigator and currently serves as Chief Technology Officer in the Center for Information Technology & Analytics. His duties involve managing OIG’s information technology and security infrastructure, data warehousing, eDiscovery, and forensic analytics. Jir is also an adjunct instructor at Northeastern Illinois University, teaching courses in financial and managerial accounting, accounting information systems, and IT auditing. He is a Certified Public Accountant and is certified in computer and cell phone forensics. Jir earned a BS in Network Technologies from DePaul University, an MA in Public Policy and Administration from Northwestern University, and an MS in Accounting from Northeastern Illinois University.
Darwyn Jones, Chief Performance Analyst for APR
Darwyn Jones has worked with the City of Chicago Office of Inspector General since 2007. He currently serves as a Chief Performance Analyst, planning, assigning, and monitoring the work of Audit & Program Review staff. Prior to joining government, Jones was an Information Technology Audit Manager for a manufacturing company and held various positions (including International Business Analyst) at Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. He is a Certified Inspector General Auditor and served as an instructor for the Association of Inspectors General certification program. Jones earned a BS in Accounting from the University of Missouri–Springfield.
Robert Owens, Chief Performance Analyst, PS
Robert Owens joined the Office of Inspector General in 2019 as a Chief Performance Analyst for Public Safety. Previously, he was an Associate Principal at the Civic Consulting Alliance, where he advised clients including the Chicago Police Department, Civilian Office of Police Accountability, the Department of Law, and the Mayor’s Office on public safety strategy and operations. His academic research has been published in journals including Law & Social Inquiry, Qualitative Sociology, and American Sociologist, and he currently teaches a course on “Police Reform and Police Legitimacy” at the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy. Owens earned a BA in Social Studies from Harvard University, an MLS in Legal Studies from the University of Chicago Law School, and a PhD in Sociology from the University of Chicago.
Kate Simon joined the Office of Inspector General in 2021 as a Chief Performance Analyst for Public Safety. Previously, she served as Executive Director of Research, Development, and Accountability at the Cook County Sheriff’s Office. She had been with Sheriff’s Office since 2014, where she was also a Research Analyst, Director of Research, and Deputy Chief Information Officer. Before that, Simon worked in a number of different positions for U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer. She also worked as a graduate intern for the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority and the Edwin F. Mandel Legal Aid Clinic. She has BA in Social Work from New York University and an MA in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago.
Keyla Vazquez, SHRM-CP
Keyla Vasquez, Supervisor of Personnel Services
Keyla Vazquez serves as the Supervisor of Personnel Services and the Equal Employment Opportunity Officer for the Office of Inspector General. She has over ten years of experience as a Human Resource Generalist with knowledge in recruitment, compensation, personnel benefits, employee relations, and conflict mediation. She is a member of the Society for Human Resource Management. Vasquez earned a BA in Business Administration from Robert Morris University and an MA in Higher Education Administration from Northeastern Illinois University.
Melissa Villa, Chief Forensic Data Analyst, CITA
Melissa Villa joined the Office of Inspector General in 2000 and currently serves as the Chief Forensic Data Analyst, supervising a team that develops the use of predictive analytics to leverage data for decision making. Her tenure includes: applying statistical techniques to transform data into information to develop investigative leads, validate assumptions, and decipher underlying trends and patterns indicative of fraudulent behavior. Villa earned a BA in History from DePaul University and an MS in Analytics from the University of Chicago.