|Rahm's new "partner", IG Joe Ferguson|
RAHM ON CHICAGO TONIGHT was like a broken record, last night, letting us know, no less than 6 times, that he and I.G. Joe Ferguson were now working as "partners" to get the city out from under the burdensome and "expensive" federal Shakman decree. Problem is, Rahm's other "partners" have included Juan Rangel and his UNO charter hustlers who just got nailed for fraud by the SEC, his former Chicago Comptroller (now federal fugitive) Amer Ahmad, school operators AUSL, and Daley administration holdovers, Morgan Stanley's Parking Meters LLC, who the city is now defending from law suits.
The newfound détente between the mayor and the city’s top watchdog comes after sometimes bitter and public feuds. In April of last year, Ferguson called out the mayor for refusing to cooperate with investigations and blocking his attempts to subpoena documents, and that it was reinforcing “deep seated doubts” about Chicago politics and corruption.The feud and threatened firing of Ferguson proved to be too heavy of a PR burden for the mayor, especially with his ratings plummeting as he heads into next year's election. Rahm learned that the best kind of patronage hire was the rehiring of the I.G. himself, only this time as a working "partner."
Patronage is no longer mainly about hiring for city jobs, but rather privatization and dishing out city contracts to the politically connected, including charter operators, "turnaround" and alternative school companies like AUSL and Camelot. Let them do the Shakman-free hiring.
Shakman, or something like it, is needed now more than ever. Chicago needs a watchdog, not a "partner" in the I.G. office.