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Mayor Emanuel Cracks Down On City Employee Debts

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel (CBS)

Mayor Rahm Emanuel (CBS)

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CHICAGO (CBS) — Mayor Rahm Emanuel is cracking down on city workers who haven’t paid their old parking tickets and other debts.

In a news release Tuesday, the mayor said the city will begin enforcing disciplinary actions against the city employees who owe a total of about $3 million in debt from parking tickets, fines, water bills and other fees.

“I am creating a culture of accountability in City government and it simply is not acceptable that City employees have $3 million in outstanding debt owed to Chicago’s taxpayers,” the mayor said in a news release.

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The Mayor’s office points out that under the Municipal Code, it is illegal for any city department or sister agency to owe debt to the city.

As of now, employees have between one week and 30 days to pay outstanding debts in full, or agree to a payroll deduction that can last up to a year, the Mayor’s office said.

Under the crackdown, all employees must pay their debt or enter a payroll deduction plan by Oct. 31. If they do not, they will be punished, with the severity of their penalty depending on how much debt they owe.

Any city employee who is still neglecting a debt of $1,000 or more by Oct. 31 will be fired. Employees with debts of $500 to $1,000 will be suspended for 29 days, those with debts of $250 to $500 will get 15 days, and those with debts below $250 will get 10 days.

Meanwhile, the city departments of Revenue and Law will move to begin deducting involuntarily from the paychecks of the most egregious city employee deadbeats, the mayor’s office said.

The Department of Law has the largest percentage of employees with debt, with 18 percent of its 50 staff members owing the city. Among sister agencies, the CTA ranks at the top, with 20.4 percent of its 10,279 employees owing debt to the city.

For total amounts of debt, Police Department employees owe the most, at $326,646, although only 7.1 percent of the 13,793 officers and other department employees owe the city any debt. The Board of Education owes the most among sister agencies, with $1,074,829 owed by 6.5 percent of its 48,796 employees.

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