The city's inspector general is sounding the alarm on the mayor's proposed infrastructure trust ordinance. We talk to him about how he thinks it can be improved on Chicago Tonight at 7:00 pm.
The trust "would operate with significantly less scrutiny and transparency than City departments," Inspector General Joseph Ferguson wrote in a letter to aldermen. He was responding to aldermen's questions on his office's jurisdiction over the trust.
Because the trust would be city-chartered and managed, Ferguson wrote, his office would have the power to review its deals with city property. But trust projects with sister agencies, including CPS, might not.
That ambiguity should be cleared up in more explicit language, Ferguson wrote.
"The best practice and the only basis for public confidence respecting oversight jurisdiction would be to write these provisions into the [trust] ordinance directly," he wrote. " Without these safeguards, there is no way to ensure that the IGO will be able to exercise any level of oversight."
He also called for new language in the trust ordinance if aldermen wanted the Freedom of Information Act or the Open Records Act to apply to the non-profit trust. The trust should be declared a "public body," and all documents it creates should be called "public records."
Read his full letter to aldermen below: