July 11, 2011

City of Chicago Implements New City- Wide Credit Card and Reimbursement Policy to Increase Accountability and Efficiency

City of Chicago Comptroller Crafted Policy After Extensive Review of City-wide Practices

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Click here to view City of Chicago Reimbursement Policy.

Click here to view City- Wide Employment Reimbursement Policy Memo.

The City of Chicago today implemented a new City-wide Reimbursement Policy aimed at increasing accountability and efficiency across city government and protecting taxpayer money. Following Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s order for a comprehensive review of the City’s reimbursement and credit card policies, Comptroller Amer Ahmad issued a report and new policy to department and agency leadership.

 “As public servants, we are employed by the people of Chicago, and misuse of their hard-earned tax dollars will not be tolerated,” said Mayor Emanuel. “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.”

The new policy:

Completely eliminates petty cash funds;Strictly outlines and limits permissible reimbursements;Decreases the number of city credit cards from over 500 to 30, while imposing strict regulations and limits on acceptable charges; Requires all reimbursements be posted online; and  Replaces flawed and unclear department policies that allowed unnecessary and costly charges and reimbursements, as well as mismanagement of petty cash funds.

In his report to the Mayor, the Comptroller identified several systemic weaknesses including questionable categories of expenditures, undefined approval hierarchies, unsupported expenditures, unclear monitoring and audit controls, as well as large petty cash expenditures and frequently recurring expenditures.

“Not having a comprehensive, consistent, detailed policy that adequately defines and documents proper employee reimbursement controls and processes increases the risk of inappropriate, unallowable, and/or unauthorized expenditures being paid for with taxpayer dollars,” said Comptroller Ahmad in his report to the Mayor.

Two independent firms, Sidley Austin LLP and the Civic Consulting Alliance, provided a pro bono review of best practices to the Comptroller to help guide his development of the new City-wide Reimbursement Policy.  An official audit of the agency and department credit card charges and reimbursements will be conducted within one year of this report and the Comptroller will make recommendations for disciplinary action if any abuses are discovered.


The new policy can be found online here.