The Better Government Association supports the passage of O2023-1245, introduced by Ald. Matt Martin (47th Ward), which brings urgency and accountability to the city’s process for filling a vacant inspector general position. 

In 2022 the BGA Policy Team wrote detailed analyses of the slow and opaque process for nominating the city’s Inspector General, as well as the IG’s lack of authority to release final reports. The proposal by Martin, chair of the city council ethics committee, addresses the former, and we hope sets the stage for council action on the latter. 

The BGA found that the city’s current process for replacing an inspector general lacks hard deadlines, relies on a private search firm with little public disclosure, does not provide for an interim or acting inspector general, and creates a second vacancy by ending the term of the deputy inspector general for public safety at the time the IG leaves office.

New language introduced by Martin substantially addresses all the major issues identified by the BGA. It provides deadlines for nomination, requires disclosure of any search firm hired by the city to recruit a new IG; provides for the IG office’s general counsel to serve as interim Inspector General if needed during the search, and provides continuity in the office by allowing the deputy for public safety to continue serving in the absence of an IG. 

The BGA remains committed to seeing City Council further expand the independence of the IG’s office by allowing inspectors general independently to release their reports. Currently, mayors can block release, delaying the public’s access to this vital, taxpayer-funded information. 

O2023-1245 is currently scheduled for a vote in the ethics committee on Thursday, July 13. The Better Government Association urges favorable passage by the committee and City Council.

The Better Government Association is a 100-year-old civic watchdog that seeks better government through investigative journalism, policy reforms and civic engagement efforts that lead to more open, equitable and accountable government. The policy team and investigative unit operate independently of one another, while both seek to advance the cause of better government in Chicago and across Illinois.