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  Last year more people used the County's forest preserves than visited Yellowstone National Park.
   
     
     
     



Use of County Cars to be Curbed

Friday, December 17, 2004
Chicago Sun-Times
by Steve Patterson

New rules are on the way for county employees who use county vehicles as part of their jobs.

Monthly checks on driving records, bans on anyone other than employees being in vehicles and county seals on the sides of vehicles are among the new requirements on the way next year.

At a committee meeting Thursday, Cook County commissioners approved a vehicle use policy for county and Forest Preserve District employees. It will take effect after a full board vote in January.

Among the measures approved will be a tip line for residents to report improper use of county vehicles, as well as logging of fuel used, vehicles used and by whom.

Commissioners will also get regular reports on accidents and vehicle inventories, while they develop a plan to bring all county and forest preserve vehicles into a central motor pool.

Anyone taking home a car must report it and can't allow non-county passengers or even tobacco in it.

By June, the county will also be ready to request bids to put tracking devices on all county vehicles.

It will all be headed by an 11-member vehicle steering committee, which will also be responsible for ensuring the county buys the most environmentally friendly vehicles available -- a plan pushed by Commissioners Mike Quigley and Gregg Goslin. Commissioners also approved a plan requiring that county vehicles be turned off if they idle more than five minutes.

The county is still gathering information on how all 1,800-plus vehicles are used, by whom and if they are used as take-home vehicles.

Also Thursday, the committee approved changes for bars in unincorporated Cook County that can stay open until 4 a.m., changes that will get a full vote in January.

The 28 bars affected will close at 3 a.m. when the 4 a.m. license expires or changes hands, bringing the bars in line with 92 others.


 

 



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