By Bethany Anderson
During the last Johnson County Commission meeting of 2018, a rather important issue was brought forth by Johnson County Purchasing Agent, Dustin Shearin, regarding the current state of the various credit cards and accounts used by the Commission.
According to Shearin, there are currently four to five credit cards and store cards issued. “There may be more cards out there as well, but there’s just no way even to tell,” Johnson County Purchasing Agent, Dustin Shearin admitted during his informative speech to the County Commissioners. He also made it known that it was “impossible to know” just who had been issued cards in the past and who now may have access to them without further research into the matter, therefore making the issue very difficult to remedy fully.
With the full attention of the Commissioners and other County Staff present, Shearin also spoke to the issue of not being able to manage accounts effectively without the original account holder’s permission and that since those people are no longer employees, this was at times very difficult or even impossible. He also stated that the current policies and procedures in place to prevent these types of issues were not enough and needed to be strengthened.
Shearin’s recommendation was a new policy to centralize and safeguard credit cards as well as to prevent any issues with future cards and accounts. Although specifics were not spoken about by Shearin at that time, the new proposed policies will reportedly include safeguards to prevent the issues of account management as well as the problem of having unknown numbers of both credit cards and store cards issued and in circulation among current and even previous employees. All Commissioners were in agreement with these recommendations, and the motion was quickly passed with a unanimous vote from the Commission at their December 2018 meeting.
After the Commission meeting, Shearin clarified his previous statements about the issue and his intentions with the new policies. “My goal is to have a policy that is more robust to prevent issues from occurring,” he said adding, “I want to be clear that there is not an unknown number of cards floating around out there. We know how many cards are issued and where they are. The problem is that we are having difficulties managing some of the accounts that were issued to specific employees and not to Johnson County. We only have two credit card providers, but some of the accounts where the issued to are too specific employees and not just the county. This is from previous years before things changed to the way we currently do things. Now we have much better checks and balances in place to have more transparency and fraud prevention.”
He added that they are working on closing any of those older and unused accounts and that moving forward all new cards
issued will follow the new policy.
Johnson County Mayor Mike Taylor was reached for comment on the matter and added the following: “It’s my understanding that this is
an update to the existing
credit card policy,” said Taylor. “I personally do not
have a credit card issued to
me. They are only issued to certain necessary county
employees,” added Mayor Taylor.
Taylor also wanted to make it clear that he has confidence that the added strength of the new policies “will surely remedy any current issues and prevent further problems from occurring.”
He also pointed out that Johnson County Purchasing Agent, Dustin Shearin, has things “under control” with
the new policy reforms in place and is sure that “this will not be an issue moving forward.”