(VIDEO) WSB-TV questions Decatur officials about credit card use
Atlanta’s WSB-TV asked city of Decatur officials some pointed questions about employees’ use of city-issued credit cards, following an investigation by Decaturish.com.
Our original story revealed that in 2015, city employees spent more than $42,000 on food, in many cases eating “working lunches” at local restaurants. That policy appears to be unusual compared with the policies of other cities. WSB-TV cited our story and research in its report.
City Manager Peggy Merriss told WSB-TV that there was nothing unusual about Decatur’s credit card spending.
“There’s nothing extraordinary about how the cards have been used,” Merriss told reporter Dave Huddleston.
However, the city has begun review of its credit card policies and practices in response to Decaturish.com’s inquiry.
“And we certainly think that’s worth looking at,” Merriss told the TV station.
The city is considering putting limits on how much and where the cards can be used and rotating people who can approve the expenses, WSB-TV reported.
“We think it will improve and make the policy even better,” Merriss said.
William Perry, founder of Georgia Ethics Watchdogs, called the city’s credit card spending “an abuse of taxpayer dollars.”
Perry told WSB-TV, “I think it’s good news that they’re improving their policies and procedures. The bad news is that perception doesn’t seem to sink in. I think you ask any voter in Decatur, ‘Is this appropriate spending?’ and I don’t think they would say yes.”
Merriss told WSB-TV the new policies would go into effect on July 1.
In a related story, the city also announced today that the city’s website, Decaturga.com, has been updated with information about the city’s Ethics Committee and ethics ordinance. In an recent story, we noted that while the Ethics Committee hasn’t held a meeting since 2001, the city has not provided the public with easy access to information about its ethics ordinance or provided information about how to file a complaint. The lack of easily-accessible information about the city’s ethics policies and procedures was revealed during the investigation into city employees’ credit card use.