AUDITOR ALAN HAROLD
PRESENTS TO COMMISSIONERS
ISSUING CREDIT/PROCUREMENT CARDS
AUDITOR ALAN HAROLD
REASON FOR ISSUING CARDS
WHO IS TO GET CARDS
TIMETABLE FOR ISSUING CARDS
IN LIGHT OF
CANTON CIC CREDIT CARD PROBLEM
MASSILLON CREDIT CARD PROBLEM
At Monday's Stark County commissioners' work session, the commissioners heard a presentation by Stark County auditor Alan Harold advocating that Stark County get into the credit card issuing business.
THE VIDEO PRESENTATION
THE ACTUAL PROPOSAL
Given the revelation in 2009 that then Stark County Chief Deputy Treasurer Vince Frustaci had stolen upwards of $3 million from Stark County taxpayers, when one hears a proposal to entrust a select group of county employees with the ability to trade on Stark County's credit questions of security rush to the head of the line of due diligence consideration.
While Frustaci did not steal from the county with the use of a credit card, he did build up "trust" among the-then treasurer Gary Zeigler, banking officials with banks with whom the county did business and others so that he was able to pull of his theft right under their noses.
It is thought by some that Frustaci did the theft to support a gambling habit.
State auditing officials issued a report post-theft to the effect that it was their assessment that Treasurer Zeigler did not have in place adequate physical facility and policies, practices and procedures to go a long way towards preventing not only Frustaci but any county employee from stealing taxpayer funds.
Beyond the Frustaci situation, there have been at least two other incidents (the Canton CIC and in Massillon government) in which there have been questions as to whether or not adequate safeguards were in place to prevent misuse of credit by government employees.
Beyond Auditor Harold's presentation to commissioners and the publication of the proposed policy, The Stark County Political Report sat down with him immediately after his "to the commissioners" presentation in an Q&A session to focus on—in view of Stark County political subdivision difficulties with the security of taxpayer monies—security, "due diligence" aspects of the proposal.
The videos that follow are broken down on a single Q&A.
WHERE DID THE IDEA FOR A COUNTY ISSUED CREDIT CARD COME FROM?
DISTRIBUTION OF THE CARDS? WHO DECIDES WHO GETS CARDS? HOW MANY WILL BE ISSUED? TO WHOM, ETC.
DIFFERENCES BETWEEN "CREDIT CARD" & "PROCUREMENT CARD"
TIMETABLE FOR DISPERSING CARDS
- PURCHASE ORDERS STILL NEEDED?
- MONITORING USE OF CARDS
- REFERENCE: CANTON CIC PROBLEM, MASSILLON GOVT PROBLEM
As one will note from the foregoing videotaped Q&A with Auditor Harold, he does not seem all that concerned about potential misuse of Stark County government issued credit/procurement cards.
The SCPR thinks he may be a bit to optimistic on that point.
The Report thinks that part of the process of determining who does and who does not get cards should include documentation that those getting taxpayer funded credit/procurement cards have been vetted for any personal history of financial difficulties and any lifestyle that might tempt a county employee to misuse a card.
It's all well and good that Harold has confidence in the Stark County prosecutor's office to recover funds lost through misuse of the cards, but if the employee in judgment proof (i.e. has not assets for the county to be made whole for); the best attorney in the world will be of no help.
Perhaps, if not already in place, bonding/insurance should be obtained to ensure that in the case of misuse, the county will not be out any taxpayer provided funds.
And beyond that, Stark County's delegation to the Ohio General Assembly should look into (if legislation is not already in existence) department heads approving issuance of cards personally liable specifically on local government credit/procurement cards as sort of a guarantor of the safety of taxpayer provided funds.