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Mayor's Staffers Misuse City Credit Cards, says Auditor

Dominique Maria Bonessi


Staffers in Mayor Catherine Pugh’s office have not been adhering to the Department of Finance’s policies for using city credit cards, according to an audit released Wednesday by the city auditor.

The audit of 2017 expenditures cited the mayor’s office’s questionable purchases, increasing credit card limit without approval, and inappropriate use of the city’s procurement card.

The questionable purchases, totaling $5274, included furniture for the homeless, youth tickets to an Orioles game and expense account lunches.

Henry Raymond, director of finance, said the money for the furniture was reimbursed.

“In this particular instance the appropriate administrative policy was not adhered to,” said Raymond.

Pugh said she was unaware of any credit card.

“As mayor I didn’t know we had credit cards,” said Pugh. “Never used one even when I travel. I don’t charge food. The only thing we charge is if it’s a flight or a hotel.”

The mayor’s office also increased the credit card limit to cover the cost of buying coats for homeless people and dry cleaning donated coats. Raymond said that money--$23,000—has been reimbursed as well.

The audit also found that multiple employees were using the same credit card.

“The administrative manual policy indicates that the card holder is the one who is authorized for transactions,” said Raymond.

While the Procurement Office says they are working to tighten up their process, Pugh said she wants to make sure all city employees are trained to use the cards and use them properly.

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