City Beat

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October 24, 2012
Sacramento City Hall continues to scale back credit card use

City Auditor Jorge Oseguera has echoed the statements of other top city officials: the number of credit cards in use by the city workforce should be scaled back.

Oseguera recommended reducing the number of accounts in circulation - something that City Manager John Shirey has already begun doing.

Shirey has taken away 68 credit cards since news broke this summer that a former mayoral aide had allegedly used her city-issued card for personal purchases, city spokeswoman Amy Williams told me today. The city is now at 224 cards for a workforce of about 3,800 employees, Williams said.

Shirey said early in the scandal that he wanted to cut back on the number of credit cards, as well as the frequency with which those cards are used. Williams said that Shirey's office will continue to reduce the number of credit card accounts.

"We're looking at who really needs to have one," she said.

Oseguera told the City Council on Tuesday night that the city should also strengthen restrictions placed on credit card use by city employees and conduct random audits of credit card accounts.

Williams said Shirey has also directed random audits of credit cards and is working to make the policies governing the use of the cards more clear.

Oseguera's audit found that some employees made "unallowable purchases" with their cards, although none were criminal. His review did not look at the cards in the City Council and mayor's office. Two former mayoral aides are under investigation by the police department for their credit card use.

Oseguera said the city also has a monthly credit limit of $2 million, which could be decreased to reduce financial risk for the city.

The council was not scheduled to take any action on Oseguera's audit on Tuesday - and they didn't. Only Mayor Kevin Johnson and Councilman Kevin McCarty had anything to say to their auditor, with both thanking him for his work.

The audit will now be referred to a City Council audit committee for further discussion.

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About City Beat

Ryan Lillis has covered the city of Sacramento, its 108 neighborhoods and its politicians since 2008. Prior to that, he covered crime at The Bee. A native of upstate New York, Lillis has a journalism degree from the University of California, Berkeley.

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