Back in 2017, when he was Controller, Steve Barron conducted a devastating audit detailing abuse of the county's credit cards, called P-Cards. He noted junkets to Vegas, New Orleans, Atlantic City's Harrah Resort and other posh destinations by some county employees. He also noted meal purchases in violation of Northampton County’s Policy on Travel, Meal and Mileage Reimbursement (Code 3.708). P-C were also being used to purchase gift cards, which were then handed out like candy by former Human Resources Director Amy Trapp. Barron has since moved on to become the county's Director of Fiscal Affairs. A recent audit of the county's P-Card purchases reveals improvement, but there are still problems.
This audit was conducted by NorCo Controller Richard "Bucky" Szulborski and his lead auditor, Kathleen A. Kuzma. They took samples from o 6,257 transactions over a 15-month period ending exactly one year ago.
1. Some P-card transactions failed to have appropriate documentation, were not properly and were beyond the purchasing cut-off date for 2017.
- Of 125 transactions selected for testing, 20 that were approved by a proxy authorized signer that was not on the Fiscal Affairs authorized signer list. Eleven approvals were later found on uploaded documents.
- Eight cardholders were improperly set up for "automatic" approval.
- There were 242 transactions after the cutoff date for 2017.
2. Some P-card transactions failed to comply with county purchasing policies.
- Two of 125 sampled transactions failed to use an approved vendor.
- Four of 125 sample transactions included a charge for sales tax even though the county is exempt from sales tax.
- There were eight gift card purchases. These are still in use for participants of Drug Court as well as some clients in Human Services. Only one lacked proper approval.
- All transactions were within the cardholder's limits.
- Of 438 weekend purchases, 10 were selected. All but one were valid purchases. The improper purchase was a $25 baggage fee for the spouse of an employee. That employee no longer works for the county.
- Of 19 charges for air travel, five were selected for testing. One of these was an inappropriate charge involving air travel of a
spouse of an employee while traveling together. This was picked up by Fiscal Affairs and the employee reimbursed the County for the air fare of the spouse.
3. Employee meal purchases.
- Of 15 transactions for meal purchases, one was for a gift card and another for a non-food item. Three purchases exceeded the county meal allowance. Seven meals were purchased even though there was no travel, which violates county policy.