Chicago Department of Transportation managers and employees improperly steered city business to six connected consultants in violation of competitive bidding rules and a ban on the hiring of employees for political reasons, according to a city inspector general’s report released Friday.
Inspector General Joseph Ferguson said that between 2006 and 2010, at least two managers and four employees directed five other companies that already held contracts with the agency to give work to the consultants, most of whom were former CDOT workers. The duties involved administrative, payroll, data management and other tasks that could have been done by regular city workers, the report found.Three of the four separate investigations that led to Ferguson’s allegations stemmed from a single complaint made in 2009.
The two managers and one of the employees no longer work for the city, according to the report. Most of the other employees were suspended for two or four weeks, and one was reprimanded. Another resigned. None were named,
The inspector general has recommended that the city take punitive action against companies that hired the consultants, ranging from recovery of money to barring them from further city work. The city is considering what to do.
All of the alleged violations took place during the waning years of former Mayor Richard M. Daley’s 22-year tenure. The probes began before Mayor Rahm Emanuel took office in May 2011, but took years to complete. A transportation agency spokesman had no comment Friday.
Ferguson said the actions of transportation managers and employees violated the so-called Shakman decree, a federal court order that prohibits political considerations from being taken into account in most city hiring decisions. Ferguson also said the hiring of one of the consultants violated competitive bidding procedures.