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Emanuel Scales Back Credit Card Privileges For City Employees

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Montage Of Credit Cards. (AP Graphic)

Montage Of Credit Cards. (AP Graphic)

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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.

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