OTTAWA, IL – The issue of personal use of city vehicles will likely be brought up for a vote at the next regular Ottawa, Ill., City Council meeting, Dec. 19, according to the Ottawa Times newspaper. The Ottawa City Council has placed on file for public review a resolution establishing an official city policy that would prohibit employees from taking city vehicles or any other city property for personal use.

The policy had been introduced by Finance Commissioner Ed Whitney to replace an unofficial city policy in place since 2002. That policy, which was spelled out in a memo from Mayor Robert Eschbach to the city’s elected commissioners and appointed department heads, is much the same as the resolution approved earlier.

However, the new policy, should it be approved by the full City Council, should enjoy a more firm legal standing. Whitney said he had intended to craft the policy into an ordinance. But after talking with the other commissioners, he said it was decided a policy approved by the full Council should be sufficient, according to the Ottawa Times newspaper.

Under the policy, city workers will be banned from using or taking from the city any vehicles, equipment, or other items of personal property “except in the performance of official duties or the business and affairs of the city.” The resolution also explicitly bans all “employees, officers, and elected or appointed officials” from personal use of city vehicles, equipment, or other items owned by the city.

However, the resolution does allow employees who are assigned the use of a specific vehicle to drive vehicles to and from their residence, so long as they live within the city of Ottawa and have permission from the commissioner over their particular department.