Mayor Mandates Public Transit for City Employees

Mayor Rahm Emanuel hasn't been quiet about his use of public transit, and he wants city employees to get comfortable using it too.

Under new travel mileage and reimbursement policies outlined Saturday, those who work for city government are required to use Chicago Transit Authority buses and trains as their main mode of transportation once they've clocked in.

If that's not feasible due to location, timing or security reasons, the employee will have to provide reasoning on reimbursement forms.

The policy was crafted after Emanuel ordered City Comptroller Amer Ahmad to conduct a thorough review of past mileage and travel practices to increase accountability and efficiency across city government, a release from the mayor's office said.

In his report, Ahmad said he identified several systemic weaknesses including unsupported or limited support for reimbursements, inadequate management review and follow up, unclear monitoring and audit controls, and questionable or inconsistent usage of other local transportation modes, the release said.

Ahmad found instances of employees being reimbursed for car washes, transportation to jury duty, parking tickets, excessive parking costs and even late fees on personal credit cards, the release said.

"Across the board we found inconsistency in the policies and enforcement in our departments and sister agencies,” Ahmad said. "This new policy provides the necessary structure to ensure that city travel is efficient and above all an appropriate use of city resources."

Emanuel's office said the polices are expected to save the city about $1 million next year.

Earlier this year Ahmad conducted a detailed review of all City expenditures and reimbursements that cut the number of city credit cards from 500 to approximately eight.

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