Brown County Commissioners will discuss how to better track county credit card expenses at the suggestion of County Auditor Jennifer D. Robison.
Although the county commission has not released its agenda for Monday’s regular meeting, the likelihood of them readdressing Robinson’s concerns seems high.
“We had a couple of line items to update with the times,” Robison said. “If the person with the credit card fails to reimburse unauthorized charges, we added those charges could be deducted from their payroll check. That would be signed by every person who holds a credit card and a copy will be kept with the treasurer and the auditor’s office.”
Following Monday’s meeting, Robinson there are countless employees with access to county-issued credit cards including many employees with the Brown County Sheriff’s Office. Robinson said when county employees make an unauthorized charge it is often done without malicious intent and establishing a policy for reimbursement is essential.
“I don’t know the exact number (of cards in circulation) because the sheriff’s department has to use them for fuel. The elected officials have one, I have one. I don’t know the exact number, which is why we have to keep a tight lid on it,” Robinson said. “We have to monitor all of these. Yes, they’re needed, but we don’t want them just going willy-nilly … When someone is given control, you never know if something catastrophic has happened in their lives. You never know. It’s our job to make sure the county does not put itself in a place to be abused.”
While a seemingly simple process of adding accountability, Sheriff Vance Hill believes Robinson’s initial policy suggestion would obfuscate county employees of potential charges of defrauding the county. He requested the county table the issue until he, Robison and County Attorney Shane Britton could discuss the issue further.
“Would this not decriminalize any activities an employee may do by entering into a civil agreement with them?” Hill said.
Robinson said her proposed policy change would take any unauthorized purchase out of their final paycheck. Britton suggested setting a limit to determine what is fraud and what is an incidental charge may be the best solution. Commissioners took no action and tabled the item until next Monday’s 9 a.m. meeting.
“We could say anything over $200 will not be deducted. It’s entirely up to the court whether we want to recoup the money or pursue charges. Whichever one is the preference of the court, I just want to make sure whatever we approve meets the standard,” County Judge Paul Lilly said.
The commission also:
Discussed the county not being compliant with current FEMA standards, potentially impacting $500,000 in ongoing repair projects. Approved taking no action implementing a burn ban. Approved requesting resubmission of bids for a kitchen remodel.