Des Plaines Alderman Dick Sayad has abandoned a push to eliminate some city-owned employee take-home vehicles.
The chairman of the city council's finance and administration committee announced at Monday's council meeting that he wouldn't be pursuing the issue any longer, after bringing it up for discussion at two council meetings in June and July.
"I don't feel bad going back and changing my opinion," Sayad said. "I feel that I maybe made a mistake and I see what's going on now, so I want to go and do the right thing."
At the June 2 meeting, Sayad proposed informally that as many as 10 take-home cars, used primarily by top police and fire department brass, be eliminated in an effort to cut costs. Five other cars, those assigned to Mayor Matt Bogusz, Police Chief Bill Kushner, Fire Chief Alan Wax and two undercover police officers, would be kept.
Sayad told the Daily Herald July 23 that two more vehicles should be kept -- for the police K9 officer and the city's Homeland Security and emergency management agency director -- while he said he was reserving final judgment on the number of cars to eliminate, or whether any should be cut at all, until he and other aldermen were provided additional information by the city's staff members.
On Monday, Sayad said he had done "a little soul searching" that led him to dropping the issue altogether.
"I feel this is a part of daily operations. I think this is part of the job of the city manager to make this decision," Sayad said.
Other aldermen criticized Sayad for bringing the topic up without coming to a conclusion.
Eighth Ward Alderman Mike Charewicz said Sayad was "dropping the ball" since it was the council's responsibility to set policy for the city manager.
Second Ward Alderman Jack Robinson said he wanted to see the additional research Sayad requested from city staff before making any decision.
"You brought the point up. You spent our time on it. Let's follow through and let's come to a conclusion or let it sit," Robinson said.
Sayad apologized to his colleagues for the meeting discussions totaling 2.5 hours, but also said residents now "understand a little more of what's going on."
The fire and police chiefs said they are working on writing up formal policies spelling out which of their employees are entitled to take home city-owned vehicles and the rules surrounding vehicle usage.