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Rahm Demands Resignation Of Water Department Commissioner Amid Probe

By Heather Cherone | May 12, 2017 5:37pm | Updated on May 15, 2017 8:39am
 Water Commissioner Barrett Murphy addresses the media as CPS CEO Forrest Claypool looks on in May 2016.
Water Commissioner Barrett Murphy addresses the media as CPS CEO Forrest Claypool looks on in May 2016.
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DNAinfo/Ted Cox

CITY HALL — Mayor Rahm Emanuel demanded the resignation of the head of the city's water department amid an investigation by the city's watchdog into the department's "culture," officials said Friday.

Department of Water Management Commissioner Barrett Murphy, who led the department for 13 months, will be replaced by Randy Conner, a city employee of more than 20 years.

Mayoral spokesman Adam Collins said Emanuel's office was informed of an investigation by the office of Inspector General Joseph Ferguson into the department's "culture."

"The mayor acted quickly and decisively, asking for the commissioner's resignation and appointing a new commissioner to lead the department forward and change the department's culture.

The Tribune reported that the eight-month long investigation was prompted by the discovery of racist and sexist emails.

Danielle Perry, a spokeswoman for Ferguson, declined to discuss the investigation in an interview with DNAinfo.

As commissioner, Murphy earned $170,000 a year overseeing the city's effort to modernize Chicago's water infrastructure by replacing water and sewer mains.

“I want to thank Barrett Murphy for his many years of public service, and I wish him well in the future,” Emanuel said in a statement. “Randy Conner’s extensive track record of experience strengthening City infrastructure and improving City services for residents will allow him to hit the ground running at the Department of Water Management.”

A city employee for more than 20 years, Conner worked for the Department of Transportation and the Department of Streets and Sanitation. His appointment must be approved by the City Council.