City credit card clampdown means less waste, better controls

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

The clamp down on how Hamilton employees use city-issued credit cards has resulted in less waste, and stricter management oversight, say city officials.

"It has improved significantly," said Joe Rinaldo, corporate finance general manager. "This has been an issue over the years. We have tightened up the controls."

The city's internal auditor, Ann Pekaruk, director of audit services, essentially agreed. In her report to the Strategic Planning and Budgets committee this week, she noted four problem areas that city management staff still needed to improve.

She insisted that the city issue a tender policy to purchase small tools, gloves, and building materials. In 2004, four vendors accounted for 17 per cent or over $400,000 in materials bought. Pekaruk stated that the city could be paying uncompetitive prices and "losing opportunities for volume discounts."

Pekaruk also questioned if the 39 of the 424 people issued procurement cards should even have them because they use them infrequently.

The 39 card-holders made only $10,165 worth of purchases in 2004.

"People who don't use the card, don't need to have them," she said.

The city's procurement card policy has been radically overhauled since problems were revealed about three years ago over misuse of the cards, and a lack of controls, in absence of a clear policy on how councillors and employees use the cards.

For instance, said Rinaldo, a few years ago 650 people had procurement cards, now about 424 people use them.

Rinaldo said general managers receive monthly card statements similar to the monthly credit card purchases a person receives, and the purchases are checked to make sure they are legitimate. Rinaldo said employee must submit a receipt before the city will reimburse the cost of the purchase. Also officials have revamped the procurement card policy, and card-holders are required to read, then sign the document. "If you don't have a receipt, you have to refund the money," said Rinaldo. "General managers get regular reports on spending levels and performances."

City credit card clampdown means less waste, better controls

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

The clamp down on how Hamilton employees use city-issued credit cards has resulted in less waste, and stricter management oversight, say city officials.

"It has improved significantly," said Joe Rinaldo, corporate finance general manager. "This has been an issue over the years. We have tightened up the controls."

The city's internal auditor, Ann Pekaruk, director of audit services, essentially agreed. In her report to the Strategic Planning and Budgets committee this week, she noted four problem areas that city management staff still needed to improve.

She insisted that the city issue a tender policy to purchase small tools, gloves, and building materials. In 2004, four vendors accounted for 17 per cent or over $400,000 in materials bought. Pekaruk stated that the city could be paying uncompetitive prices and "losing opportunities for volume discounts."

Pekaruk also questioned if the 39 of the 424 people issued procurement cards should even have them because they use them infrequently.

The 39 card-holders made only $10,165 worth of purchases in 2004.

"People who don't use the card, don't need to have them," she said.

The city's procurement card policy has been radically overhauled since problems were revealed about three years ago over misuse of the cards, and a lack of controls, in absence of a clear policy on how councillors and employees use the cards.

For instance, said Rinaldo, a few years ago 650 people had procurement cards, now about 424 people use them.

Rinaldo said general managers receive monthly card statements similar to the monthly credit card purchases a person receives, and the purchases are checked to make sure they are legitimate. Rinaldo said employee must submit a receipt before the city will reimburse the cost of the purchase. Also officials have revamped the procurement card policy, and card-holders are required to read, then sign the document. "If you don't have a receipt, you have to refund the money," said Rinaldo. "General managers get regular reports on spending levels and performances."

City credit card clampdown means less waste, better controls

News Nov 22, 2006 Flamborough Review

The clamp down on how Hamilton employees use city-issued credit cards has resulted in less waste, and stricter management oversight, say city officials.

"It has improved significantly," said Joe Rinaldo, corporate finance general manager. "This has been an issue over the years. We have tightened up the controls."

The city's internal auditor, Ann Pekaruk, director of audit services, essentially agreed. In her report to the Strategic Planning and Budgets committee this week, she noted four problem areas that city management staff still needed to improve.

She insisted that the city issue a tender policy to purchase small tools, gloves, and building materials. In 2004, four vendors accounted for 17 per cent or over $400,000 in materials bought. Pekaruk stated that the city could be paying uncompetitive prices and "losing opportunities for volume discounts."

Pekaruk also questioned if the 39 of the 424 people issued procurement cards should even have them because they use them infrequently.

The 39 card-holders made only $10,165 worth of purchases in 2004.

"People who don't use the card, don't need to have them," she said.

The city's procurement card policy has been radically overhauled since problems were revealed about three years ago over misuse of the cards, and a lack of controls, in absence of a clear policy on how councillors and employees use the cards.

For instance, said Rinaldo, a few years ago 650 people had procurement cards, now about 424 people use them.

Rinaldo said general managers receive monthly card statements similar to the monthly credit card purchases a person receives, and the purchases are checked to make sure they are legitimate. Rinaldo said employee must submit a receipt before the city will reimburse the cost of the purchase. Also officials have revamped the procurement card policy, and card-holders are required to read, then sign the document. "If you don't have a receipt, you have to refund the money," said Rinaldo. "General managers get regular reports on spending levels and performances."