September 15, 2011

Mayor Emanuel Announces City Agencies' Implementation of New, Expanded Credit Card and Reimbursement Policies

Credit cards cut from over 500 to just 8 as agencies have exceeded requirements

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Emanuel announced today that all sister agencies have developed and begun implementing new credit card usage and reimbursement policies that are specific to the agencies and exceed the requirements set forth by the Administration. 

"Upon taking office we learned that lax credit card and reimbursement policies with little to no accountability allowed some city employees to treat a city credit card as their personal expense accounts,” said Mayor Emanuel. “Our residents work hard every day, and we work for them. Abuse or misuse of taxpayer dollars absolutely will not be tolerated."

In mid-June, Mayor Emanuel asked Comptroller Amer Ahmad to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the City’s use of credit cards, petty cash, and employee reimbursement, and to recommend a standardized policy. Ahmad submitted his report in mid-July, and agencies were asked to develop processes for implementing these guidelines within 30 days. All six agencies met this deadline, and have subsequently developed robust policies to govern behavior in specific situations.  

The Comptroller’s review of City credit card policy also led to the reduction of the number of City-wide credit cards from more than 500 to only 30 earlier this year. After additional review from each City agency - the Chicago Housing Authority, the Chicago Transit Authority, the Public Building Commission, the City Colleges of Chicago, Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Park District - the number of credit cards was further reduced to no more than eight. Three agencies have abandoned credit card use entirely. Additionally, all sister agencies have set forth specific, expanded policies relative to their agency business; the expanded policies at Chicago Public Schools are subject to Board and City Comptroller approval. These policies regulate everything from previously undefined expenditures to reimbursement policies for advisory board members.

“We discovered that our sister agencies did not have clear policies in place, so we defined a clear, uniform and stringent policy for them to follow,” said Comptroller Ahmad. “They have not only embraced this policy, they have adapted it to their specific needs and exceeded our expectations, which will result in increased transparency and accountability throughout Chicago’s government."

The new, approved sister agency policies can be viewed here.



Chicago City Colleges expanded Reimbursement policy can be found here.

Chicago Housing Authority expanded General Business Expense Policy can be found here.

Chicago Transit Authority expanded Expense Account Reimbursement Policy can be found here.

Chicago Parks District expanded Board Reimbursement Policy can be found here.

Chicago Parks District expanded Employee Reimbursement and Credit Card Policies can be found here.

Public Building Commission Expenditure and Reimbursement Policy can be found here.