October 5, 2011

Mayor Emanuel Announces Plan to Recoup $3 Million in City Employee Debt

Increased enforcement of City policies will decrease waste of taxpayer dollars and increase accountability across City government

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Emanuel announced today that the City will immediately begin enforcing disciplinary actions on outstanding collection of approximately $3 million in debt owed by City department and sister agency employees. 

Employees will be informed by their department leadership of their outstanding debt and asked to comply immediately with the City’s personnel debt policy or face disciplinary actions outlined by city ordinance, including 10 day suspensions and termination.

“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,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel.   

It is a violation of the City’s Municipal code (Personnel Rule XVIII) for any City or sister agency employees to owe the City debt.

Currently, employees have seven to 30 days to pay outstanding debts in full or voluntarily enroll in a payroll deduction agreement, which can last up to 12 months.

The Departments of Revenue and Law will increase their pursuit of involuntary payroll deductions for the most egregious cases of outstanding debt collection. City of Chicago Comptroller Amer Ahmad will notify City departments and sister agencies of debt owed by their employees every quarter. The Comptroller will receive progress reports from City department and sister agency heads each week and these weekly reports will be posted online.

In a letter to City department and sister agency leadership, the Mayor states, “It is expected that you will make every effort to ensure your employees come into compliance by paying the debt in full or entering into a payment plan by October 31, 2011.” Failure of an employee to come into compliance could result in discipline, up to and including discharge.  For City employees, the following could be used in administering discipline for non-compliance: 


Past-Due Amount: Disciplinary Action

$1,000 and over: Discharge
$ 500 to $1,000: 29-day suspension
$ 250 to $500:  15-day suspension
Below    $250: 10-day suspension


For a breakdown of the debt owed by employees of City and sister agencies, please see the attached PDF.