Critics: New legislative inspector general a sham

May 12, 2010 (CHICAGO) After Former Alderman Ike Carothers pleaded guilty to accepting bribes, Mayor Richard M. Daley proposed an ordinance expanding the inspector general's duties to include investigating aldermen. It was an idea that fell flat with the city council. However, feeling like they had to do something, a group of alderman led by Dick Mell and Ed Burke came up with a different plan.

"Some of the members worked long and hard trying to come up with alternative to get 26 votes and that's what is before us today," said Ald. Burke.

The alternative creates a separate legislative inspector general. That person, who is yet to be named, would only investigate a complaint against an alderman if the city's board of ethics, which is appointed by the mayor, gives it the green light. Despite several aldermen who have gone to prison for corruption, the board of ethics has never taken action against an alderman before. Many members of city council call the new ordinance a sham.

"It is a toothless tiger; it is not going to make any dent in the ethics problem in the city council in the city of Chicago," said Alderman Joe Moore.

Alderman Ward says the biggest problem with the new ordinance is how an investigation is triggered: someone who wants to blow the whistle on corruption must sign a sworn complaint.

"The person will have to reveal themselves and subject themselves who they are complaining against," said Ald. Joe Moore.

With the U.S. attorney located just down the street, other aldermen do not believe an inspector general is needed at all.

"You hear that song, 'He knows when you are sleeping, he knows when you are awake? That's not Santa Claus. That is Patrick Fitzgerald," said Ald. Ed Smith, 28th Ward.

Fitzgerald is the U.S. attorney. Alderman Smith chose not to vote.

The other concern is the cost as a price tag was not discussed. The ordinance is not what Mayor Daley originally wanted, he says he does not have a problem with creating a new layer of bureaucracy.

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