Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel ordered the suspension of travel and mileage reimbursements for all city workers pending an audit by the city's comptroller Monday.
Emanuel said in a statement that the ordered review is part of his administration's "ongoing efforts to reform City government and ensure efficient and effective service delivery for residents across Chicago." He has given Chicago Comptroller Amer Ahmad a one-month deadline to deliver a full review of the city's reimbursement policies to his office.
"We must continue to ensure accountability, efficiency and transparency across City government," Emanuel said Monday. "Every department and sister agency must be diligent and responsible with its stewardship of taxpayer dollars and use all funds in the most effective way possible."
The move arrives two days before Emanuel must decide whether to fire 54 city firefighters who were accused of padding their mileage expense filings, as the Chicago Sun-Times reports. Inspector General Joe Ferguson has recommended they be fired for the alleged fraud -- which, if true, cost Chicago taxpayers more than $100,000 during 2009, though the padding is rumored to have gone on for many years.
Earlier this summer, Ahmad uncovered a bevy of questionable charges during his Emanuel-ordered review of the city's credit card and reimbursement policies. Among the charges discovered were $21,000 for an "executive coaching session," $5,000 for an "appreciation event," $1,098 for a group dinner in Reno, Nev., and $34,000 in fuel costs -- though those expenses are intended to be reimbursed under a separate contract.
As a result of the review's findings, Emanuel cut the number of credit cards available for city agencies from approximately 500 to only 30 and altogether eliminated their petty cash accounts.