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 (APR) Section 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 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 Chief Procurement Officers that was charged with addressing the Task Force’s recommendations, tracking 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–and a dedicated Police Inspector General.

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 earned a BA from Lake Forest College and a JD from Northwestern University School of Law.