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GA’s inspector general post still vacant

Friday, Oct 27, 2017

* The General Assembly lost its acting inspector general in 2015, when Bill Roberts quit, and hasn’t had a “real” IG since 2013. State law requires that the Legislative Ethics Commission (composed of eight members of Illinois House and Senate leadership) appoint an interim IG if there’s a vacancy, but that hasn’t happened. So, what’s going on?

(T)he office of the state’s legislative inspector general sits empty. The Legislative Ethics Commission’s executive director, Randy Erferd, attends only to the group’s administrative needs and did not return calls for comment by publication.

Despite this, $312,500 were appropriated for the Office of the Legislative Inspector General in this year’s budget. The same amount was appropriated in 2013, 2014, 2015, and for the 2016-2017 year. A total of $1,875,000 million has been appropriated for an office which has not been occupied and to pay for a staff which doesn’t exist. […]

“We haven’t found an appropriate person but I want to hasten to add that there have been no reports of ethics violations during that period of time so it’s not like there’s something that hasn’t been done,” [Rep. Lou Lang] said.

The commission’s governing statute holds that the number of claims received by the body is a matter of public record. However, no quarterly or annual reports appear to have been filed by the office since June 2014, making Lang’s claim difficult to verify. The responsibility to file those reports resides with the inspector general.

Lang was asked why quarterly reports, if they have been filed by the commission, have not been made public. “At this moment I don’t have an answer about that for you, but I can tell you if there had been complaints we would have had to figure out how to investigate them.”

…Adding… As a commenter rightly notes, the IG is a significant component of Speaker Madigan’s sexual harassment bill

Each state Inspector General will have authority to review allegations of sexual harassment and submit any founded complaints to the applicable Ethics Commission for a hearing. Each Ethics Commission will have the authority to fine an individual up to $5,000 for a violation of the prohibition on sexual harassment.

…Adding More… I think the appropriations mentioned above were probably re-approps, so while the money was budgeted, it wasn’t spent every year.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

15 Comments
  1. - Anonymous - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 11:51 am:

    This is an indictment of Lang’s leadership and character. Unacceptable.


  2. - Montrose - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 11:55 am:

    From the summary of the sexual harassment legislation posted on the blog yesterday:

    4) Each state Inspector General will have authority to review allegations of sexual harassment and submit any founded complaints to the applicable Ethics Commission for a hearing. Each Ethics Commission will have the authority to fine an individual up to $5,000 for a violation of the prohibition on sexual harassment.

    You would think Lang would be ready with a little better response given his Speaker is pushing crisis management legislation that requires an Inspector General to be in place.


  3. - CookR - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 11:59 am:

    The person, who doesn’t exist, has received no complaints.


  4. - Anonymous - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 12:02 pm:

    This is Illinois Corruption in a nutshell. Lou Lang - no vice is out of bounds, but it’s against his grain to get an IG in place. If you’re Lou Lang it makes all the sense in the world - if only these “holier than thou” media (cough, CapitolFax, cough) would keep their noses out of it.


  5. - Enviro - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 12:08 pm:

    They could start by looking into the Sierra Club for having at least one unregistered lobbyist interacting directly with legislators. That would be a clear violation of the lobbyist ethics law. Easy investigation since they admitted to it in newspapers all week.


  6. - Anonymous - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 12:13 pm:

    Lang’s inaction here is definitely suspect. What’s sad is that the guy who was in that position before stepping down doesn’t seem all that much better than nothing. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-06-26/opinion/ct-perspec-0626-inspector-20130626_1_inspector-general-ethics-commission-ethics-act


  7. - notgreat - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 12:26 pm:

    The Legislative Ethics Commission appointed Bill Roberts as interim director. Bill is highly, highly respected in the legal community and among federal prosecutors. What happened to him — newspaper wrote articles criticizing his ability to do the job because he understands government. He resigned shortly thereafter.

    If someone like Bill isn’t good enough, who is? Why would anyone want to do this job if they’re going to be constantly criticized and questioned for trying to do their job?


  8. - notgreat - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 12:32 pm:

    There are some, like the BGA, who think inspectors general should be mini-federal prosecutors. That’s not their job. They aren’t criminal prosecutors. They are supposed to assist ethics officers with determining how to guide elected officials and staff, and investigate waste and mismanagement, or where there’s a violation of the Ethics Act Act.


  9. - Anonymous - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 12:39 pm:

    ===If someone like Bill isn’t good enough, who is?===

    The dude represented Madigan in a federal probe. Cozy with leadership on both sides of the aisle. The position is toothless for a reason.


  10. - LakeviewJ - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 12:45 pm:

    Madigan’s bill also seems to preclude the possibility that sexual harassment complaints could be investigated by the Attorney General.

    Page 2, Lines 24 to 26 and Page 3, Lines 1-3 of the bill require state agencies to prohibit sexual harassment in their personnel policies.

    Current law (5 ILCS 430/25-20a) says the AG can only investigate violations of the law, not departmental policy violations.

    So the only office with authority to investigate accusations against legislators or GA staff is the Legislative Inspector General- which is vacant.


  11. - Leatherneck - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 1:05 pm:

    - notgreat - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 12:32 pm:

    There are some, like the BGA, who think inspectors general should be mini-federal prosecutors. That’s not their job. They aren’t criminal prosecutors.

    So the BGA would be okay with Scott Drury for IG if his AG run doesn’t work out?


  12. - COPN - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 1:09 pm:

    I’m not sure the state is willing or even able to take on the responsibility that a typical employer has when it comes to sexual harassment. Employers aren’t able to keep a potential victim working with an alleged harasser during a long investigation that ends up leading to only a financial penalty.


  13. - notgreat - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 2:02 pm:

    ==- Anonymous - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 12:39 pm:

    ===If someone like Bill isn’t good enough, who is?===

    The dude represented Madigan in a federal probe. Cozy with leadership on both sides of the aisle. The position is toothless for a reason.==

    Do you suggest the inspector general should have no relationships whatsoever with the general assembly? How is that type of person supposed to do the job? The job isn’t investigating corruption. It’s helping people understand the Ethics Act and then investigating violations of the Ethics Act. To do your job, you have to have some understanding of how the statehouse works.


  14. - Jack Darin - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 2:11 pm:

    Enviro -

    One article that quoted Kady McFadden mistakenly identified her as our lobbyist. It’s an understandable mistake, given that Kady does work with lawmakers and candidates in her role directing our political program, and it has since been corrected. Our lobbyist is Terri Treacy.

    Jack Darin
    Director
    Sierra Club, Illinois Chapter


  15. - Anonymous - Friday, Oct 27, 17 @ 3:08 pm:

    ===Do you suggest the inspector general should have no relationships whatsoever with the general assembly?===

    Look up how Chicago City Council chose its Legislative Inspector General and get back to me. Also a toothless office, but the appointment was much better.


Sorry, comments for this post are now closed.


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