As city Inspector General Joe Ferguson left office last October, Mayor Lori Lightfoot vowed she would name a successor who would understand the importance of “staying in their lane” as the new IG.

Lightfoot’s petulant statement was not surprising: She and Ferguson had clashed repeatedly. Partly, that comes with the job descriptions. It’s the IG’s purpose to deliver revelations about malfunctions in city government. And it is the fate of Chicago mayors to be made uncomfortable by IGs who simply do their jobs.

Credit goes to Lightfoot, then, for naming a successor, Deborah Witzburg, who rode shotgun with Ferguson as, from Lightfoot’s perspective, he repeatedly crossed double-yellow lines. Ferguson was bold in the way he publicly advocated for more effective and honest government, embracing the police transparency issue in particular. Ferguson’s reports crashed into the mayor’s efforts to project an image that city government was functioning effectively with her at the wheel.

In fact, as deputy IG for public safety, Witzburg bore responsibility for some of the harder hitting IG reports of Lightfoot’s term as mayor. They criticized the reliability of the city’s ShotSpotter technology, which is designed to identify gunfire and direct police officers where to respond. She played a key role, too, in the IG report that served as a rebuke of the Chicago Police Department’s handling of unrest following the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis in 2020.

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David Greising is the president and chief executive of the Better Government Association, joining the BGA in 2018. For nearly a century, the BGA has fought for honest and effective government through investigative journalism and policy advocacy.

Greising’s career started at the City News Bureau of Chicago, with stops at the Chicago Sun-Times, Business Week magazine, the Chicago Tribune and Reuters. He was a co-founder of the Chicago News Cooperative and worked briefly as a consultant to World Business Chicago. Today, Greising writes on government issues in regular columns for the Tribune and Crain’s Chicago Business.

Under Greising’s leadership, the BGA has played a key role in uncovering public corruption amidst the wide-ranging federal probe, starting with an in-depth report about Ald. Ed Burke’s conflicts of interest before the federal charges against Burke. The BGA also has exposed waste and fraud at O’Hare and the proliferation of corruption and poverty into Dolton, Lyons and other Chicago suburbs. The BGA’s policy team has led calls for ethics reform in Chicago’s City Council and in state government.