CALUMET CITY | The City Council on Thursday rejected a request by 3rd Ward Alderman Thaddeus Jones to have a committee study hiring the Cook County sheriff’s police as an inspector general for municipal government.
The council voted 4-2 against Jones’ motion to have a special investigative unit within the sheriff's department serve as an inspector general. Jones wanted the council’s Ordinance and Resolution Committee to meet to study the issue. He noted Dolton recently had taken the same step to bring in the sheriff's investigators.
Jones and 7th Ward Alderman Antoine Collins voted for the measure, while Aldermen Eric Schneider (1st Ward), Magdalena “Leni” Wosczynski (2nd Ward), Roger Munda (5th Ward) and Nick Manousopoulos (6th Ward) voted against it. 4th Ward Alderman Ramonde Williams, whose day job is with the county sheriff, abstained.
Jones said he believes it will take an outside presence to keep city government honest.
But his request came immediately after a quarrel during Thursday’s City Council meeting in which Jones objected to Mayor Michelle Markiewicz Qualkinbush vetoing a Jones measure the council had approved last week.
That measure related to the website Jones maintains to promote the 3rd Ward. Aldermen originally had issued a $3,000 contract to one company to maintain the website, but Jones last week tried shifting that contract to a different company.
Qualkinbush vetoed the shift, saying she believed the move was not done in accordance with the law.
Jones insists it was done legally, and he said the attorney who advised the council last week provided a procedural explanation.
But city attorney Burt Odelson on Thursday said Qualkinbush was correct.
Odelson also said Jones could ask the council to vote to override the veto at its next scheduled meeting Dec. 12. Jones argued that municipal ordinances required the aldermen to act on a mayoral override at Thursday’s meeting.
Calumet City has not had an inspector general since the retirement this summer of former alderman and Illinois State Police officer Edward Gonzalez. Jones said the sheriff’s investigators would be qualified to monitor municipal government, noting that Dolton Village President Riley Rogers earlier this year had the sheriff do the same thing.
Qualkinbush declined to specifically address bringing in the sheriff. But she defended her handling of the veto of Jones’ measure, saying, “I stand by my position.”