Audit reveals serious issues with city-parish purchase cards
BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — 100 purchase cards, authorized to make tens of thousands worth of purchases on tax payer dollars have been called in to question by a third party audit.
"Controls weren't being followed and so that's an issue and it could result in misspending of funds and not being caught on a regular, timely basis," explained legislative auditor Daryl Purpera.
The audit, released Monday, noted that the system of using those cards and making purchases needs a lot of improvement.
"They looked at seven purchases and one of those was not properly approved, in fact the individual kind of self approved it," added Purpera.
Auditors found the issue in one of seven cards, that essentially leaves 93 other cards that could have also been used like that. It's leading many in city-parish to question just how many other purchases are out there like that.
"We really need to par down that list. 100 cards to be outstanding is just too much, it just seems like an incredible amount to me," said councilman John Delgado.
The spending limits range from $1,000-$25,000, Delgado said the cards are something the parish needs in order to conduct business, but one that needs a lot more rules attached to it.
"The cards are necessary. We do need to be able to have credit cards to be able to travel and buy certain things, but at the end of the day we need to have procedures and policies in place to make sure the money is being spent properly," said Delgado.
Councilwoman Tara Wicker was the only council person to have one of these cards, she said she has since turned it in. The finance department said it has made some changes to include more oversight for charges that are being made, but we were not told what those changes are.