JEFFERSON, GA — Tonight the Jackson County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution to allow elected officials to use Procurement (Purchase) Cards for county business.  This policy was the main item on the agenda for the commission’s 6pm meeting Monday.

The proposed resolution follows Georgia House Bill 192,  effective January 1, 2016.  HB192 strictly regulates how county officials can use their taxpayer funded P-cards. The legislation stemmed from reported abuse of these cards for personal purposes by officials in other Georgia counties.

According to an investigation by the Atlanta Journal Constitution, numerous Dekalb County Commissioners used their county cards for “questionable expenses” that totaled over $537,000 dating back to 2008.  Former Dekalb commissioner Elaine Boyer is currently serving a 14-month prison sentence for her role in the fraud.  Dekalb County elected officials have since decided to cease the use of purchase cards entirely after the adoption of HB192. According to the Dekalb County Government Press Secretary, Burke Brennan, the county stopped using p-cards in June 2015, but there are 55 cards that are still in existence in the event of emergencies.  Purchase card abuse is now treated as a felony in Georgia.

Jackson County’s policy hopes to prevent these problems, as it is written in accordance with HB192.  Jackson County’s resolution allows the use of purchase cards for only the following elected officials: Chair, Commissioners, Magistrate Judge, Probate Judge, Sheriff, Superior Court Clerk, Tax Commissioner, Solicitor, and State Court Judge.

Further, the policy lays out a maximum initial spending limit of $2500, with single transactions to be capped at $1000.  Each county employee who is issued a p-card must follow the card-use contract that includes having to keep weekly records and submit receipts with each statement.

Jackson County Manager Kevin Poe recommended that the Board approve the resolution and adopt all of the Procurement Card policies and procedures.

Stay tuned to Grady Newsource on air and online tomorrow to see reaction from the Board.

By Corey Knapp

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