AP NEWS

Chicago schools inspector general admits to being tough boss

February 6, 2020 GMT
In this photo taken Dec. 6, 2017, Chicago Public Schools Inspector General Nicholas Schuler attends a CPS Board meeting in Chicago. Schuler is stepping down after the school board hired a law firm to investigate complaints that he berated employees and created a toxic workplace, city officials said Monday, Feb. 3, 2020. (James Foster/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)
In this photo taken Dec. 6, 2017, Chicago Public Schools Inspector General Nicholas Schuler attends a CPS Board meeting in Chicago. Schuler is stepping down after the school board hired a law firm to investigate complaints that he berated employees and created a toxic workplace, city officials said Monday, Feb. 3, 2020. (James Foster/Chicago Sun-Times via AP)

CHICAGO (AP) — The inspector general of Chicago Public Schools since 2014 who was asked to step down by Mayor Lori Lightfoot admitted Wednesday to being an “impatient boss” who sometimes was hard on his staff.

However, Nicholas Schuler, who will leave his post later this month, denied allegations submitted anonymously to school district officials that he fostered a ``toxic workplace.”

“I was a demanding and frequently impatient boss and drove my employees hard, sometimes excessively hard, to achieve what they achieved,’’ he said. ``My tough management style led to complaints by employees, some of which I think were justified.”

Schuler, 52, said Lightfoot asked for his resignation after the Board of Education received a report containing findings from an outside law firm hired to investigate him. Schuler, who resigned Monday with two years remaining in his tenure, said he was suspicious complaints about his conduct that surfaced may have motivated by people hoping to get a friendlier watchdog. Schuler says that is why he is urging Lightfoot to choose an ``independent and outspoken IG” to replace him when he steps down.

The inspector general runs independently from the school board, according to state law. The mayor appoints the inspector general to a four-year term.

Schuler played a central role in an investigation that led to criminal charges against former CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett. She’s serving a prison sentence after admitting to a scheme where she steered no-bid contracts to a former employer for kickbacks.