Emanuel goes after city, agency credit cards to rein in problems first exposed in CPS

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, keeping his promise to rein in even the smallest scams and costs of city agencies, announced that he is having the city's controller review all City of Chicago credit cards, and the cards currently issued by all of the city's "sister agencies."

Chicago Board of Education President Michael Scott (above, in white shirt, third from left) at the April 26, 2006 Board of Education meeting, killed himself following the failure of Chicago to get the 2016 Olympics. Prior to Scott's death, the Board of Education was being investigated for the misuse of Board credit cards, by Scott and members of the Board of Education (including Scott's successor Rufus Williams) and others at CPS. The exposure of these abuses at CPS was the beginning of the investigations now being pursued by Mayor Rahm Emanuel across what Emanuel calls "all sister agencies." Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.According to a press statement sent to Substance on June 6, 2011:


As you know, I have asked the City of Chicago’s sister agencies to immediately terminate all credit cards issued to individuals. I have also suspended all employee reimbursement plans until reformed policies for reimbursement are adopted by each agency.

Within the next 30 days, I would like you to review the reimbursement policies and past spending for which taxpayer dollars have been used at the City of Chicago and at the city government’s sister agencies including the following:

All credit card use by City and agency employees for the last two years, including both credit cards issued to individuals and credit cards issued to departments;

Reimbursements to all City and agency employees for the last year;

In addition, I would like you to bring on an independent law firm to provide recommendations for a city-wide reimbursement policy with strict guidelines for city employees. This policy should include a component that provides to the taxpayers a level of transparency that holds all in the City’s government accountable.

Board of Education President Rufus Williams (above, second from right at the February 27, 2008 meeting of the Board) was found to have abused his CPS credit card with questionable expenses in a report by the CPS Inspector General. Williams is now longer at CPS. Substance photo by George N. Schmidt.The misuse of taxpayer money is unacceptable. Many in Chicago are struggling to make ends meet and as a government we must work to ensure that tax dollars are used properly, for their intended purposes, and with the best interests of Chicagoans at the center of our focus. We must do everything we can to help restore faith in government, and every dime of taxpayer money we spend must be justifiable.

This report and recommendations will provide a crucial step forward as we create lasting, sustainable policies that will benefit the residents of Chicago and guide us forward. I look forward to the results.


Rahm Emanuel


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