Emanuel Scales Back Credit Card Privileges For City Employees

UPDATED 07/11/11 1:02 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — An investigation that uncovered credit card abuses, which led to the ouster of the heads of the Chicago Housing Authority and Chicago Park District, has prompted Mayor Rahm Emanuel to cancel most city credit cards and all petty cash.

As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser reports, Mayor Emanuel is cutting government credit cards from 500 to just 30.

LISTEN: Newsradio 780’s Mike Krauser reports

The mayor’s office said those cards will be for top executives only, and the statements will be made public.

It is no longer acceptable to spend taxpayer money on restaurant meals, alcohol, flowers, charitable donations, flowers or office parties. There are some exceptions, such as out-of-town government-related expenses.

Also, petty cash funds will be done away with altogether, and all reimbursements will have to be required online, among other new restrictions.

dollars will not be tolerated,” Mayor Emanuel said in a news release Monday. “The City of Chicago must be a judicious steward of these funds, and I commend the Comptroller for his swift and thorough review of the city’s reimbursement policies and ask all department and agency leadership to implement these new policy guidelines immediately.”

An investigation found all kinds of abuses, including charges for a suite at the United Center and red light camera fines, and tens of thousands of dollars in petty cash spent on gas.

CHA chief executive officer Lewis Jordan resigned last month, following a probe into his credit card use.

He wrote in his resignation letter that the issue has been an impediment to his ability to steer a $1 billion organization, but added that his credit card use was consistent with CHA and federal policies, the Sun-Times reported.

The probe also led to Park District Supt. Tim Mitchell to resign, according to published reports.

Mayor Emanuel initially revoked city credit cards after reports of abuse began.

  • Jinchi

    Why doesn’t he just cut the cards all together and do reimbursements? That way, the gov’t heads will really be wary of following the “guidelines,” and expenses will be reviewed before being paid.

    • Fed up

      No credit cards, no debit cards, no check cards, no purchasing cards, no tabs…. nothing. Enforce an immediate expense freeze until mid-1Q2012. Audit the books and all accounts. It’s time to get tough Rahm. Maybe Quinn will man up and do the same with Stroger. What a mess!

    • My thoughts

      bet mayor heb, and all his lackies kept theirs…..oy!

  • dennis

    this is the type of person that illinois needs as governor. we DO NOT need someone who whines all the time & is afraid to step on toes or make a decision.

  • Chivi

    Rahm makes Mayor Daley look really really bad!! It’s about time someone stepped up to the bully!! No wonder the bullies were giving Rahm a hard time about becoming mayor!!!!! I wonder why Mayor Daley is so quiet now!! Remember Mayor Daley’s words?? “Silly silly silly it’s silly!!” You’re next silly!!!

  • Sonia Hernandez

    Thank you its about time. Reimbursement after reviewing expenses is the way to go.

  • Larry

    Good move. But Rahm still is the King of Lies and Half Truths. You have a LONG way to go, Rahm. Keep going and start telling the truth, and I may respect you.

  • fed up

    Enforce an immediate expense freeze until mid-1Q 2012. It’s time to buckle down. No more freebies!

  • bob

    Why aren’t all the people that were abusing the credit card being fired? Only 2 resigned? If anyone used the card for anything except city business they need to get fired, now!!!

  • Raymond Prudente

    Chicago’s $654.8 Million budget deficit and $23 Billion unfunded pension liabilities are threats to the city’s economic future. The budget deficit will continue to grow not only due to economic conditions but also due to rampant governmental corruption, excesses and abuses. The City of Chicago failed to enact measures to cut spending. “INCREASED SPENDING” is a major cause of massive deficit and costly consequences.

    Replacing corrupt and abusive public official with new honest official don’t guarantee stop corruption. So perhaps I should pray for miracles to send us Messiah Governor/Mayor throwing away decades of wrong policies and waste in govt. The people of Chicago deserve a better government.

  • Holycow

    I’m a card carrying Conservative,But I kinda like this guy!

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