Former inspector general: the rise and fall of training handbook for aldermen

In a March 2023 audio interview, Inside Chicago Government's Dave Glowacz spoke with Joe Ferguson, who headed Chicago's Office of Inspector General from 2009 to 2021.

Burke binder
Unreleased aldermanic handbook created in
late 2018. Source: city of Chicago.

In the interview, Ferguson described the origins of a document called the "Handbook for Effective and Ethical Aldermanic Operations." This document, created in draft form in late 2018, was meant to provide a sort of "how to be an alderman" guide for newly elected or newly appointed members of the Chicago City Council.

In the standard version of the interview, Ferguson described how the idea of an aldermanic handbook came to him.

From discussions with aldermen "over the years," Ferguson saw that different aldermen learned to their jobs in different ways. And he perceived a "wide variation and sophistication and knowledge of how [their jobs] would be done to accord with best practices."

In the premium version of the interview, Ferguson described how the handbook came together, why it fell apart, and how some of the fundamental challenges of city governance could be addressed by comprehensive, formalized aldermanic training.

Among the challenges that Ferguson noted: "Aldermen are under-resourced for the provision of constituent services dealing with inquiries—and their resources can be consumed completely with that."

Length 6.5 minutes standard, 29.2 minutes premium.

Music: "Kaos o MoMa" by Salmo
Copyright 2014 (CC BY 4.0).

Standard audio:

Premium audio:

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