Despite the interest and penalty provision, it is still the city’s responsibly to control and pay what is being charged.
“You feel like your hands are tied because you really have to approve the claim,” said Councilman Nathan Samuel. “In a way, [it’s] no skin off the employee’s back because it’s in the city’s name. It’s not the employee that’s accruing the interest.”
Councilman Ed Zastawny pointed to a credit card policy ordinance from Westfield as a model that the city could use. The policy he referenced required the credit card to be placed in the employee’s name, that they sign an understanding of the obligations that come with the credit card and it also includes a provision that allows the department head, controller and city council to track the charges online.
But not all of the council members were supportive of the idea of issuing credit cards to employees. Ultimately, the goal is that controls are in place before the charges are made on the cards and before the city is on the hook for the payment.
“We were told, this ultimately falls back on the council,” said Councilwoman Lisa Gill, referring to a statement made by the state board of accounts.
Council President Connie Sellers added, “We just want to make sure we’re doing everything correctly.”
Credit cards were originally issued in the city to pay for travel and training expenses, which may lead to the council revisiting the city’s travel procedures as well, she explained.
“I think the travel ordinance, because they kind of go hand-in-hand ... might need to be updated a little bit,” Sellers said.
A committee was formed to hammer out a revised credit card ordinance to be presented to the full council. The committee will consist of Smith, Gill, Julius and Sellers. It is set to meet at 10 a.m. Thursday, May 23.