As part of my committee report on Wednesday, January 13, 2016, before the entire City Council, I reported that the ordinance giving the power to the Inspector General to investigate Aldermen and their staff had passed my committee. I made a motion for approval by the entire Council. However, there is a mechanism available to all Aldermen to delay implementation of any legislation for one meeting (a motion to ‘defer and publish’). Any two Alderman can invoke this procedural mechanism, which two of my colleagues chose to do on Wednesday.
The motion to defer and publish is intended to ensure that a matter has been fully considered prior to passage – if there are members of the body that feel something needs more time for consideration before passage, this is a way to accomplish that goal.
However, the practical effect of the motion is to delay the implementation of the ordinance for a month.
The motion is not debatable–thus, there was no way to stop the delay. It is my intention, along with many of my colleagues, that this measure will pass at the next City Council meeting on February 10, 2016.
Unanimous Committee Vote to Empower the Inspector General to Investigate Alderman
On Monday January 11, 2016, the Workforce Development and Audit Committee, which I chair, passed legislation to empower the City of Chicago’s Inspector General (currently Joe Ferguson) to investigate Aldermen and their staff. This was an unprecedented vote to enhance the ethics of the City Council.
Alderman Pawar and I, along with representatives of the Mayor’s office and the Inspector General’s office spent many hours drafting the language for the ordinance and are pleased to see this issue favorably voted on in my committee. The transfer of the duties of the Legislative Inspector General to the Inspector General is something that the City newspapers and numerous government watchdog organizations recommended to enhance the ethics of the City Council. By combining the roles of the Legislative Inspector General and the Inspector General, the Council will save taxpayers money by eliminating the need to have an entirely separate Legislative Inspector General Office. The Inspector General’s office is well equipped to handle the task of investigating the City Council and I am confident that if this ordinance passes the entire Council, that Joe Ferguson’s office will operate with professionalism and integrity in their investigations.
Yesterday’s vote sends the clear message to the citizens of Chicago that the City Council is committed to the highest standard of ethics.