Some council members say the cards have been widely used by employees for years to pay for meals that don't appear to have been related to job duties.
City policy governing the procurement card, or P-card, program, has always prohibited meal, travel, gasoline and entertainment expenses from being charged, except when authorized. Some council members said they don't think the policy has been enforced.
"The manual stated that, but they didn't really have a policy. They just allowed staff to buy meals over the years," said Councilman
Examination of 8,500 pages of records of credit card data turned up "thousands of charges" that he and other council members have questioned, Davis said.
The policy was amended at council's request this week and now prohibits charges for meals by employees within
"There's probably some legitimate charges," said Davis. "If a water main breaks and they work until midnight to fix it, the supervisor might go buy them all pizza. That's understandable to me. But obviously, (staff) thought there was some kind of abuse to it, and that's why they offered to make changes."
Boynton defended the oversight of the credit cards by city staff and said any instances of abuse were isolated. The city has fired two employees and disciplined a handful of others for misusing the cards in the 12 years the program has been in existence.
"We're very responsive to the concerns council had. I felt it was important to tighten up on the policy to minimize any risk of possible abuse, to say, 'If you're in town working, you're not going to stop by Wendy's and eat lunch on us,'" Boynton said. "I don't think (employees) were doing that. I don't know; I haven't gone through all 8,600 pages. I'm not going to do that. But, if it happened, it has not been widespread."
About 365 of the city's roughly 1,400 employees have credit cards and spend about
"I think we created an environment where personal purchases were OK if we gave them an out by saying they had to be reimbursed immediately," he said.
Boynton said the claim that staff allowed employees to charge for meals without restrictions was false.
"There are some times where we've picked up food, I think, for kids in a (city recreation) program," he said. "I know people complained about a bowling alley (expenditure). That's kids in a rec program, or seniors out on a trip or something."
Boynton also took exception to Davis questioning meal expenditures of
"The comments that the council made very personal, I think, were wrong. Our staff does not abuse the P-cards," Boynton said. "Wendy (Fuscoe's) meals were taken way out of context, omitting the fact that they were all approved. But singling out an individual employee, I think, is wrong. That should be done privately, if there's a problem."
Wood provided the Enterprise copies of all of Fuscoe's credit card charges for the past six months, which total
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