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Emanuel to Merge City Asset Departments

By Chuck Sudo in News on Apr 22, 2011 3:20PM

Mayor-elect Emanuel continued with his flurry of pre-inaugural moves by announcing yesterday that he'll be combining the Departments of Fleet Management and General Services and named David Reynolds to head the new department. Reynolds, a former deputy environmental commissioner currently working as vice-president of real estate services for the Illinois Facilities Fund, will be charged with fulfilling Emanuel's stated intention to save the city $5 million his first year in office by switching the city's vehicle fleet to more fuel-efficient vehicles and reducing the size of the city's vehicle fleet. Emanuel's decision to put the city's vehicle fleet, building management and city lease negotiations under one roof is a 180 degree sea change from Mayor Daley's proposals to privatize city services such as fleet management.

What remains to be seen is if Reynolds can effect a change in the culture withiin the new department. Fleet Management has been one department where numerous Daley cronies have wound up and treated themselves like pigs at the trough. Daley fired Commissioner Rick Santella in 1998 after two subordinates accused him of steering Hired Truck business to trucking magnate Michael Tadin. Santella was replaced by Robert Dengan, whose brother Tim was Daley's political enforcer. The department has been subject to Inspector General audits and investigations. And the department's most recent commissioner, Pat Harney, was forced out by the Chicago Transit Authority for driving drunk in a department car.