Issue Continues With Purchase Cards

An accountability group of citizens has watched the Suffolk Public Schools and its finances. One of the areas of concern has been that of showing what staff is purchasing with their purchase cards.

For over two years, we’ve written emails and spoken to the board at its regularly-scheduled meetings. The board chair insists there is not an issue.

But there is.

Here’s a visual called, SPS Accounting for Expenses: ACH Payments vs. Purchase Cards. Through this, I’d like to show the difference in the type of information that is provided in the board’s financial reports.

If you will, please look at #1. This is the vendor column and shows to whom an electronic payment was made.

#2 shows what was purchased – and you’ll see there is a short description.

#3 provides you with the amount; the cost.

#4 takes us to the purchasing card part of the financial reports. You see the vendor here, and then in #5, the amount.

At #6, you’ll see there is no description, thus you cannot tell what was purchased. This is what we have been asking to change for the past couple of years.

At #8, you see a $26,000 purchase for a roofing company, but we have no idea what the service is for. We don’t know if it is a replacement roof, a fix to leaks in roofs – or something else. We also don’t know where the service occurred.

If you look at #9, you’ll see there is a total of $329,285.15 for which purchase cards were used – and we’re not seeing the receipts. This monthly total is not unusual, by the way.

I continue to urge the board members of SPS to consider letting their constituents know what is purchased with the purchase cards. I for one, would certainly appreciate it.

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