In a letter sent July 1 to the mayor, Budget Chair Pat Dowell, 3rd, and Ethics and Government Oversight Chair Michele Smith, 43rd, Ferguson said he wanted to give the city plenty of time to find his replacement.
“It is of high priority that the positions of Inspector General and Deputy Public Safety Inspector General not be filled by individuals in an acting capacity while a lengthy selection process unfolds; rather, it best serves the interests of the public and of all involved to ensure enough time for an orderly transition and continuity of operations whose independence accords with national standards,” according to the letter.
Ferguson could not be immediately reached for comment. His exit was first reported by The Daily Line.
“I learned of his resignation during the middle of the City Council meeting today, he sent me an email with his resignation letter,” Lightfoot said at a press conference today. “I think Joe Ferguson has done tremendous work over his 12-year tenure as the Inspector General, and I appreciate his decision to move on. We thank him for his service, and we will follow the ordinance for finding a successor to him.”
Ferguson manages an office of roughly 100 with a $10 million budget. He is tasked with investigating corruption, misconduct, waste, and abuse big and small, from a culture of sexual harassment in the Chicago Fire Department to lax recycling enforcement by the Department of Streets and Sanitation.
The office’s role and responsibilities have expanded under his tenure. The office now oversees the Chicago City Council and Public Building Commission. It expanded in recent years to include a new Public Safety section with a Council-confirmed deputy that provides checks on the Chicago Police Department, which is also playing a major role in CPD’s compliance with the consent decree. Ferguson has also played a role in the recent indictments of aldermen announced by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.