October 08, 2011|By John Byrne | Tribune reporter
Chicago city employees will be encouraged to use public transportation more under a new travel policy announced Saturday by Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s office.
Chicago Transit Authority trains and buses will be “the preferred method of travel” for city workers during the workday under the new standards that are meant to save the city $1 million per year in travel reimbursment costs, Emanuel’s office said. The policy goes into effect Oct. 15.
If taking the CTA isn’t possible, employees will need to explain why not.
Supervisors will have the authority to deny reimbursing them for driving instead, according to the city.
Workers also will need to drive at least five miles in a day in their personal vehicles before they can get reimbursed for the mileage. The city has capped the daily reimbursement at 50 miles.
Those seeking reimbursements will need to include maps showing how many miles they traveled.
Emanuel estimates $500,000 savings annually by pushing workers toward the CTA. Another $500,000 will be saved through the daily mileage minimum and other reforms, according to the release.
Emanuel suspended travel and mileage reimbursement for city workers last month following a report by Inspector General Joseph Ferguson that showed 54 firefighters in the Fire Prevention Bureau had padded mileage reports in 2009 to the tune of nearly $100,000. Four firefighters were fired and another 43 received suspensions as a result.
Comptroller Amer Ahmad, who conducted the mileage reimbursement review, earlier oversaw a reduction of the number of city credit cards from around 500 to about 10 amid reports of questionable spending by city officials.