Ousted IPRA Chief Gets Big Job Offer In Florida | WBEZ
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Ousted IPRA Chief Gets Big Job Offer In Florida

The ousted former head of the Chicago agency that investigates police shootings has landed a big job offer in Florida’s most populous city.

Scott Ando, forced out as chief administrator of the Independent Police Review Authority last December, has been asked to serve as inspector general of Jacksonville.

Ando, a former longtime U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent, worked at IPRA more than four years, the last two-and-a-half as its leader.

He took much of the public blame for IPRA’s failure to find officers at fault for any on-duty shootings and for its allegedly soft treatment of cops in a variety of misconduct cases.

WBEZ found that Ando brought in other former sworn law-enforcement personnel to help manage the agency, that he fired a supervising investigator who had concluded that officers were at fault in several shootings, and that the only shooting-specific training for IPRA investigators under Ando came from a controversial psychologist who testified frequently for Chicago cops who had shot civilians.

After a judge last November ordered the city to release a dashboard-camera video showing an officer’s 2014 fatal shooting of teenager Laquan McDonald, Mayor Rahm Emanuel dumped Ando.

IPRA had so little credibility that Emanuel eventually proposed an ordinance that would disband and replace the agency. The City Council is expected to vote on that proposal next week.

In Jacksonville, the Inspector General Selection and Retention Committee interviewed Ando and four other finalists for that post Sept.19 and ranked him second. The top finisher declined his offer, leaving the job to Ando.

The committee, a seven-member panel, consists of city representatives and judicial officials.

Committee minutes describe Ando as “impressive, only candidate to ask a question, good research, personable, experience with underperforming employees, well rounded, leadership.”

Ando’s “weaknesses,” according to the minutes, consist of “rigid law enforcement positioning, lack of procurement experience, lack of legal experience, too used to big budget environment, may leave city if not properly budgeted.”

Jacksonville City Council member John Crescimbeni, the committee’s vice chair, said Ando’s alleged pro-cop leanings are “not applicable” to the IG’s office, whose jurisdiction does not include police misconduct. He points out that Ando’s boss in Jacksonville will not be the mayor, like it was in Chicago.

“Nobody is going to be pushing his buttons,” Crescimbeni said. “Our inspector general here is independent, completely autonomous [and] responsible to no individual component of city government except this selection and retention committee.”

Ando, who did not return a message seeking comment, has defended his efforts to discipline Chicago officers and argued that he was largely independent of Emanuel.

If Ando accepts the Jacksonville offer, his starting salary will be $150,000, plus another $10,000 per year after he receives an inspector-general certification — nearly as much as his $161,856 salary at IPRA.

The appointment would require the Jacksonville City Council’s approval. 

Chip Mitchell reports out of WBEZ’s West Side studio. Follow him on Twitter @ChipMitchell1.

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