Mayor Rahm Emanuel under pressure to reappoint Inspector General Joe Ferguson

August 13, 2013 (CHICAGO)

Ferguson has to reapply for his job. His term expires in November. Ferguson is known for pointing out what he believes are inefficiencies and waste within Chicago city government.

When Mayor Rahm Emanuel claimed Chicago was saving $18 million a year collecting garbage by grid as opposed to the old ward system, city Inspector General Joe Ferguson challenged the mayor to prove it.

"Joe Ferguson has done his job as an independent inspector general," said 2nd Ward Alderman Bob Fioretti.

Tuesday morning, six aldermen praised Ferguson for calling out Emanuel as well as finding millions of dollars in waste and inefficiency. They called on the mayor to reappoint the inspector general before Ferguson's term expires in November.

"We've got a good inspector general," said 45th Ward Alderman John Arena. "We don't see a need to delay this any longer."

Emanuel, who has fought many, if not most, of the inspector general's document requests, says he has not met with Ferguson. The mayor wants a committee to consider other candidates for the position, adding that Ferguson is free to apply.

A spokeswoman writes "the mayor has the utmost respect for the critical role that the inspector general plays in ensuring accountability and transparency in city government."

"Joe Ferguson has done an excellent job for the taxpayers, and the mayor needs to recognize that," said Emily Miller of the Better Government Association (BGA).

The BGA that Ferguson, appointed in 2009 during the Daley administration, is frequently at odds with Emanuel.

"If the reasons for not wanting Joe Ferguson to continue his job are personal, it's time for that conversation to stop," said Miller.

The aldermen insist that if Ferguson's doing the job, he should be allowed to keep doing it.

"It's conducive to good government, which Chicago desperately needs," said 32nd Ward Alderman Scott Waguespack.

Ferguson would not comment on his future. Presumably, he continues to work on his current investigations, which could be among the last he conducts as inspector general.

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