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RI Council May Tighten Spending Rules

City of Rock Island
Mayor Thoms and the RI City Council

Rock Island aldermen may tighten the rules for how they can spend city funds. Monday night the city council will consider a list of new restrictions following recent revelations of questionable spending. 

Mayor Mike Thoms says the new rules would replace what he calls some "loosely written policies written in the past that were open to interpretation." One change is for the use of city credit cards. 

"At this point there was no regulation on when and how to use those. And we've changed that now to use just when you travel. We go to the Illinois Municipal League conferences in Chicago. So any seminar and that type of thing is the only time when you can use credit cards."

And if an alderman buys something locally, they would have to spend their own money then apply for reimbursement.

The amount Rock Island aldermen could spend each year representing their wards would be cut from 2,000 to 1,000 dollars - for ward meetings, newsletters, or buying supplies for cleanup events. 

"It adds checks and balances that were not there, which is good. And so I think everybody should be happy with it."

These possible changes follow an investigation by the Argus and Dispatch, published last month, detailing spending by Rock Island aldermen of their discretionary funds. One former alderman used the money to buy a bulletproof vest, jewelry, and for dry cleaning.