Eighteen months after creating the post of City Council inspector general, aldermen Wednesday finally named a New York attorney to fill the job—at a part-time salary of $60,000.
Faisal Khan will appear next week before the council Rules Committee, nearing the final step in a process that has dragged out since May 2010. That’s when aldermen voted to create the position rather than subject themselves to the scrutiny of the city’s Office of Inspector General, which legally can only investigate the mayor’s administration.
Another restriction: People who file complaints against an alderman will have to sign their names, opening them up to potential retribution.
Ald. Richard Mell, 33rd, chairman of the Rules Committee, said Khan will not have his own staff of investigators. He will instead have to rely on Board of Ethics investigators.
Kahn’s job will be to “to respond to complaints, if there are any, of members of the body or staff of the City Council that might be accused of wrongdoing,” said powerful longtime Ald. Edward Burke, 14th, chairman of the Finance Committee.
Ranking City Council members including Burke and Mell set the budget for the legislative inspector general, reducing it by $40,000 for next year from the $100,000 planned for this year. The $60,000 salary is less than the council pays some of its secretaries and legislative aides.
Asked if the job is part-time, Mell said, “Yeah, I think it is.”
“I think it will be the hours he needs to do the job, and if he finds that he’s spending a lot more time than the 60, we’ll have to look at that,” Mell added.
Reached Wednesday evening, Khan said aldermen asked him not to speak to the media prior to his Rules Committee hearing. But he said he's looking forward to the challengel. “I've worked most of my career in public service, and I actually enjoy it,” Khan said.
Mell said Khan will do a good job.
“This is nobody nobody sent,” Mell said, echoing a famous Chicago line about political connections. “This guy, nobody knows this guy.”
Khan served for two years until September 2010 as inspector general in the New York City Department of Investigations, according to his resume. Before that, he was a major crimes prosecutor in Queens County.
Khan, who will turn 38 on Friday, went to law school in New York and was licensed as an attorney there in 2002, according to Illinois Registration and Disciplinary Commission records. He was licensed in Illinois in March, the records indicate.
Mell defended the drawn-out process, saying more than 170 applications came in for the position, and a panel appointed by aldermen interviewed about 30 people. Background checks also had to be performed on several finalists, he said.
“There was an independent committee made up of some very highly regarded citizens who recommended certain names, and I believe that this gentleman represents a good choice,” Burke said.”I’m prepared to vote for him, and I believe a majority of the council will also.”
Khan's approval will require a two-thirds vote by the full council.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel commended the council Wednesday for making a selection. During his campaign, Emanuel said the city inspector general’s authority “should also extend to City Council,” but qualified that by adding “that decision must be left squarely in the hands of the City Council.”
Aldermen pick New York lawyer to be watchdog on a leash
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