FAIR HAVEN — The town of Fair Haven is getting a handle on its charging habit.
There have been no issues related to town credit cards, charge cards or charge accounts, said Town Manager Herbert Durfee, but an audit of the town’s finances identified the lack of a policy as an issue that should be improved.
The Fair Haven Select Board approved the new policies and procedures document Durfee prepared that he said would tighten the town’s controls on those charge cards and accounts.
The draft was introduced to the Select Board, and revised once to include charge accounts after it initially addressed only charge cards and credit cards.
A second version was passed by the board last week.
Durfee said an auditor found there were charge cards in the town office, some with the names of old town managers on them, and others that only said Town of Fair Haven.
The auditor identified it as an issue that should be rectified.
“Our typical practice in town is not to have these cards but over the years we’ve accumulated a few of them,” Durfee said. “It’s just something the auditor picked up on. They suggested having a policy about it.”
Durfee said the town believes the systems it has in place will handle the need to charge items.
The overriding policy says: “In general, it is the policy of the Town of Fair Haven to not have or issue credit/charge cards to any of its employees or elected/appointed officials. Also, it is the Town’s policy that maintaining existing and establishing new charge accounts with area business is more the exception than the rule. The Town believes its current Purchase Order and expense reimbursement systems can accommodate most, if not all, forms of payments for expenses.”
The document also details rules for use of charge cards, credit cards and charge accounts when they are needed.
First, the cards must be authorized by the town treasurer and copied to the town manager and a list of employees authorized to use them will be maintained.
The document also restricts what the cards can be used for and lists specifically that cards cannot be used for purchases of more than $200, are not be used for regular bills, travel expenses, personal or private expenditures, or cash advances.
Charged items must be accounted for with an itemized receipt and explanation.
All cards will have a maximum balance of $1,000.
Violating the new policy can result in disciplinary action, including termination, or prosecution.
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