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Unified Government moved to rein in purchasing card use ahead of KBI investigation

Unified Government Dias.jpg
Posted at 4:19 PM, Aug 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-16 18:31:58-04

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Two days before the KBI executed a search warrant at the headquarters for the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, the interim county administrator issued a memo about taxpayer-funded credit cards used for government purchases.

The new detail was uncovered in an email obtained by the KSHB 41 I-Team through an open records request.

The KBI is investigating alleged misuse of government-issued purchasing cards, according to a court document.

Interim County Administrator Cheryl Harrison-Lee said in the memo, which was sent Aug. 1 to all UG employees, that “it is imperative that we reevaluate the procurement card program."

Four days earlier, consultants presented their findings from an independent assessment of the UG Finance Department to the UG Board of Commissioners.

The findings included "significant use of P-cards within the UG,” including more than $20 million in spending from 2019-21 plus another $4.4 million already in 2022. The audit found that 363 employees have government-issued credit cards.

“If the process is not being monitored, it can go awry," Byron C. Marshall, one of the consultants, said at the July 28 commission meeting. “The other thing that can happen is if it’s not monitored properly, people can buy things that are prohibited.”

In response, Harrison-Lee sent out six specific guidelines, which included requiring department heads to review all active purchasing cards and identifying which cards that have been issued are necessary.

The memo also said purchasing card transactions will be monitored monthly by the assigned assistant county administrator.

P Card Memo[82].pdf
Two days before the KBI executed a search warrant at the headquarters for the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, the interim county administrator issued a memo about taxpayer-funded credit cards used for government purchases.

A court document, which confirmed the investigation last week, cited alleged misuse of county credit cards issued on the UG’s behalf.

A spokeswoman for the UG has said she cannot comment on an ongoing investigation, but that the UG was "cooperating fully with the authorities."


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