City official wants shake-up in human resources

June 29, 2009 4:57:50 PM PDT
The inspector general of Chicago, David Hoffman, is calling for the resignation of the head of the human resources department.Hoffman says there continues to be violations of court-ordered hiring policies for the city.

"The only way that an office like this can work is if it is truly and vigorously independent," said Hoffman.

With only 14 weeks left in his appointed term, the inspector general told the City Club he's not worried about rubbing the bosses at City Hall the wrong way.

"For any inspector general who is committed to independence you have to know that at times you may be doing things that upset people," Hoffman said.

The latest upset City Hall department head is Homero Tristan, the commissioner of human resources, whose firing Hoffman recommended last week.

In January, Tristan received a letter from Ald. Michael Zalewski, who wanted one of his city employee constituents transferred to another work location.

Hoffman says Tristan lied about the letter's handling and took over a month to report it to federal officials who are monitoring the personnel department because of past hiring abuses.

"I was disappointed and shocked at how he could have come to this conclusion because there is no reason why I would have lied in this investigation," Tristan said.

"We found there was a failure of reporting and we also found a failure to be truthful regarding statements in that and we found that significant enough to make the recommendation we did," Hoffman.

In May, Hoffman angered Daley administration officials with a report concluding that Chicago's parking meters were sold for nearly a $1 billion less than their worth to the city.

Monday, Daley said he still had not read Hoffman's latest recommendation to fire Tristan.

"We got it late Friday and we opened it this morning. I haven't had a chance to really review it," said Daley.

Hoffman still believes the mayor takes him seriously and is not concerned that his activity level might cost him his job.

"I think we've accomplished a lot but I'll leave it to other people to assess that," Hoffman said.

Hoffman's four-year term expires October 6. Mayor Daley has not indicated whether the inspector general will be reappointed. Hoffman said on Monday he has not yet decided whether he would accept an appointment if one was offered.

Charles has more on the political beat in his Precinct 7 Blog.


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