Statement of David Hoffman Upon Appointment as Inspector General
Good morning. I am deeply honored to have been asked by Mayor Daley to be Chicago’s next Inspector General.
The Inspector General is charged with rooting out corruption, uncovering fraud, and exposing misconduct. This is exactly what I plan to do.
I believe that a strong, effective Inspector General’s office can make a difference in the city. Since our founding, we have always been a city bent on improvement. We make the biggest plans, and then we achieve them. We justifiably brag about our city – its achievements, our spirit. Yet we recognize that when there is corruption, when there is fraud, when there is misconduct within our government, it diminishes us. The mayor has asked only one thing of me – to take all necessary steps to find wrongdoing in city government and to expose it. If this requires big plans, I stand ready to put them in place.
I have no doubt that aggressively going after wrongdoing can result in real improvement. Fewer wrongdoers in city government means more honest employees; it means better city services; it means more efficient government. And punishing wrongdoing can have a strong ripple effect that deters others from going down the wrong path. It can give confidence to the honest, law-abiding employee who works hard everyday for the city’s taxpayers. It can give faith to businesses and residents who are proud of our city and expect the best in their dealings with the government.
Here is my message to the many thousands of honest and hard-working employees in city government: You are an asset to the city. If given the chance to shake your hand and say thank you, all the residents of our city would line up to do so. As we look to the south to a sister city suffering so deeply, we know that we rely on you to help us, in good times and in bad. Today I am asking you for your help. If you see corruption, if you see fraud, if you see dishonest practices, let us hear from you. Do not accept it silently. If your colleagues or superiors are using their positions corruptly or dishonestly, they are tarnishing you and the rest of city government. But you have the power to change things. And I can assure you that as Inspector General, I will take nothing more seriously than going after those who would retaliate against those employees courageous enough to turn in wrongdoers.
Finally, here is my a message to the taxpayers of Chicago: As Inspector General, I will work for you. I can promise you that no one will work harder or be more dedicated. I know how to run investigations and I will put into place what I have learned. I will investigate aggressively and creatively and will follow the evidence wherever it leads. And I will prioritize investigations to make sure that we are attacking the most significant problems. If the problem runs deep, then I will take the time to dig deeply. If it is shallow, then I will act quickly to acknowledge that there is no time to waste.
Chicago is an integral part of my identity. My great-grandfather arrived here in 1899 and, like you, I care deeply about our city. Let us together work to improve our city by rejecting the cynic’s view that nothing can change. True Chicagoans know that with smart plans and sustained effort, we can achieve improvement. I look forward to dedicating myself to this challenge.