Trash talk: Mayor’s $18 million garbage savings can’t be verified, IG says

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The inspector general’s office is in place for the taxpayers to root out waste, fraud and inefficiency.  When the Inspector General Joseph Ferguson asked for documentation of how the city was saving $18 million dollars on the new garbage collection system, he says he got stonewalled.

The inspector general’s office wanted to know how the city was tracking the performance of the new grid system of picking up garbage.  It’s one of the city’s most important services.  It was a huge undertaking and was rolled out in phases.  The mayor bragged saying it would save $ 18 million dollars.

Joe Ferguson’s office still doesn’t have those numbers so the audit was issued without the data, without a conclusion.  Ferguson said he had no choice but to publically recommend the city divulge the information to taxpayers.

Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Charles Williams issued this statement saying the IG’s office asked for the information too soon:

“We believe the Inspector General’s audit of the system midway through implementation was premature, and the appropriate approach to auditing the large scale transition of Chicago’s refuse collection system is to roll the program out completely, review for issues and best practices, adjust strategies accordingly, and audit.”

The mayor publically touted the success of the grid system in April.  But three months later still no documents the IG asked for.  WGN News obtained emails between Commissioner Williams and the Deputy Inspector General from April of this year.  The deputy IG asked for information.  The IG’s office says the Commissioner gave partial responses.  A source within Streets and San says the department is gathering the information and welcomes the audit

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