City of Chicago Office of the Inspector General

03/21/2023 | Press release | Archived content

Advisory on Interdepartmental Coordination and the City’s AO Position

The City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (OIG) is charged, among other duties, with promoting economy, efficiency, effectiveness, and integrity in the administration of the programs and operations of the City government by recommending policies and methods for the elimination of inefficiencies and waste. In its recent inquiries, OIG has found a number of areas of inefficiency and ineffectiveness in City government attributable to poor or inadequate coordination among City departments.

In a January 27, 2023 letter to the Mayor's Office, OIG advised of these findings and noted that the Municipal Code of Chicago (MCC) requires that the Mayor appoint for confirmation by the City Council an administrative officer, among whose statutory duties is coordination among City departments. That position has not been filled during the present mayoral administration or during any recent predecessor administration.

Specifically, MCC § 2-4-020 states:

"The mayor shall appoint, with the consent of the city council, an officer to be known as the mayor's administrative officer who shall serve at the pleasure of the mayor […]

The mayor's administrative officer, subject to the direction and control of the mayor, shall supervise the administrative management of all city departments, boards, commissions, and other city agencies established by the code and the laws of this state.

In addition to such supervisory power, the mayor's administrative officer may, in [sic] respect to any or all agencies under his supervision, establish reporting procedures, require the submission of progress reports, provide for the coordination of the activities of such agencies, and shall perform such other administrative and executive functions as may be delegated by the mayor. He shall make periodic reports with such recommendation as he deems appropriate to the mayor concerning the administrative management of all departments, boards, commissioners, and agencies of the cities."

OIG suggested that, in order to improve efficiency, effectiveness, and the quality of services across City government by improving coordination among departments and in order to comply with the requirements of the MCC, the Mayor appoint and empower a City Council-confirmed administrative officer.

In her response, Mayor Lori Lightfoot "strongly dispute[s] [OIG's] observation that a lack of adequate communication and coordination among City departments has been a common or widespread problem at the root of various adverse events and inefficiencies" across the eleven recent inquiries summarized in OIG's letter. Mayor Lightfoot expresses the view that "it is questionable" whether the provision of MCC § 2-4-020 that "[t]he mayor shall appoint, with the consent of the city council, an officer to be known as the mayor's administrative officer" establishes a legal obligation for the Mayor. Further, the Mayor asserts that her administration has achieved such coordination "very effectively" under her own "organizational approach," and characterizes the structure prescribed by the MCC as "archaic and overly simplistic."

OIG appreciates Mayor Lightfoot's response. In order to comply with the MCC and to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the operations of the City, OIG continues to urge that an administrative officer be appointed for City Council confirmation and empowered to carry out the duties enumerated in the MCC.

Read the Advisory on Interdepartmental Coordination and the City's Administrative Officer Position. OIG's letter to Mayor Lightfoot is attached as Appendix A; the response sent on her behalf is attached as Appendix B, in the linked Advisory document.