Credit card audit? Yes, please (Rice)

Recent Daily Press letter “Cut the Credit Cards” is great headline advice to the Town of Apple Valley and taxpayer residents. Public Records reveal that 90 employees use 27 credit cards, an unknown number of American Express cards with thousands in monthly bill payments for many invoices, a very large number of gas cards and high value (thousands) for electronic fund transfers (wire transfers). Staff are using credit cards with others’ names, little if any, guidance and controls are absent and instances of non-employees are using the town’s credit cards. Each and all of these should ask “why” is this going on for years? Airfares are made on short notice with associated higher costs. My observations of invoices and signature sign-offs containing typical notations is not considered to be appropriate of the many “best practices” controls necessary on the many front-end risks associated with credit card usage by a public agency.

On the back-end processing, why does a manager sign off on credit card invoices made by the finance director and the finance director sign off on a manager’s card invoices? Why does finance “due diligence” accept and process invoice payments that would appear to require additional justification and documentation, not just a signature? Does the town continue their practice of rubber stamping two signatures on the actual warrants, thus avoiding necessary oversight review by manager and mayor?

While watching the Council meetings for seven-plus years, I don’t remember any questions from the dais regarding any of the hundreds of monthly commercial warrants involving several millions in expenditures occurring each month. An audit is justified and supported. Does the Town Council have important financial responsibilities?

Al Rice, Apple Valley