Inspector General wants to ban city employees from getting gifts

December 22, 2010

by Robert Wildeboer

Download Story

The Inspector General for the City of Chicago says city employees should not be allowed to accept gifts from companies doing business with the city.

According to the Chicago Ethics Ordinance, city employees may accept gifts from contractors but the gifts can't be worth more than $50 and not more than $100 worth of gifts in any one calendar years. But an investigation by the inspector generals office found a systemic problem with gift giving.

For example, a contractor who does work for the Chicago Department of Transportation paid for two CDOT employees to play in a golf tournament for a cost of $250 each. The employees said they didn't know the value of the tickets and conveniently didn't ask. Another employee accepted more than $3,500 in sports tickets and meals.

Inspector General Joe Ferguson said gift giving at best causes confusion and at worst leads to willful violations. He said the easy fix is to prohibit city employees from accepting any gifts at all.