Anne Arundel employee's misuse of funds is alleged

July 21, 2000|By Scott Calvert | Scott Calvert,SUN STAFF

A top purchasing official in Anne Arundel County government was fired last month for allegedly buying personal items with a county-issued credit card, several sources say.

The employee had authority to buy materials that the Department of Public Works and other agencies needed.

The employee started working in purchasing last fall, and the personal purchases were discovered in May. The Sun is not identifying the employee because no charges have been filed.

County officials declined to discuss the situation yesterday because of confidentiality rules. "This is an ongoing employee action," said Spurgeon R. Eismeier, the county's central services director. Eismeier confirmed the employee stopped working last month.

A source who asked to be unidentified said irregularities were discovered during routine department auditing, "so the system worked." Outside investigators were notified immediately, the source said. Another source said the purchases totaled about $40,000 and included a pinball machine.

County spokesman Andrew C. Carpenter said, "I cannot comment on any personnel matter."

In the past year, many county employees have received "procurement cards," as county credit cards are known. Employees may buy job-related materials with the cards if they cannot get the materials from the county's supply network. The cards typically have a credit limit of $300. But Eismeier said he thinks the employee had a higher limit, though he is not sure how high.

To prevent abuse, employees must present receipts and obtain a supervisor's approval before submitting billing information to the county's finance office, which then pays the credit card bill. It is not clear how or at what stage the alleged abuse in this instance was discovered.

Attempts to reach the employee by phone and in person were unsuccessful yesterday.

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