The Chicago Park District isn’t all fun and games—unless you’re a bureaucrat there, and then it’s an endless game of duck-and-dodge. Which is why the agency is in desperate need of some internal landscaping, and an independent inspector general.
In just the past couple of months, the Better Government Association has conducted three investigations that found, among other things, that:
- A high-ranking official had a hand in a contract awarded to a woman he apparently lives with (Dec. 21, 2010: “Chicago Park District Supervisor Resigns After Questionable Contract”).
- Another high-ranking official was put on the payroll despite smashing up a city car while drunk, then trying to cover it up, while working for the Daley administration (Jan. 14, 2011: “Clout Trumps Consequences: New job for Insider Despite DUI, Cover-Up”).
- A teenager who applied for a summer job at the park district was sent a W2 form – even though she never got the job, never received a call back and never cashed any paychecks. (Feb. 11, 2011: “Chicago Park District Investigates a Paycheck Mystery”).
That last investigation was highlighted this past Friday on FOX Chicago News, and raises questions about whether this was a clerical error—or a scam by government workers.
Tough to know because the agency hasn’t provided all the paperwork needed to make a judgment. But this much is clear: the oversight at the Chicago Park District is crummy.
A public body that big and politically piggish needs somebody (other than us) keeping an eye on things. It needs an inspector general.
If you agree, here are the commissioners who are supposed to oversee the park district. Give ‘em a jingle and let them know your thoughts:
- President: Bryan Traubert
- Vice President: Bob Pickens
- Commissioner Dr. Scott Hanlon,
- D.O.Commissioner Martin Laird Koldyke
- Commissioner Juan R. Rangel
- Commissioner Rouhy J. Shalabi
Here’s the main number: 312.747-2001.
The address is 541 N. Fairbanks, Chicago, IL 60611