Grand County adopts new credit card policies
The Grand County Board of Commissioners has approved sweeping new policies to address how employees use county credit cards among other things.
The policies, which also address capital expenditures, media relations, contracting and employee cell phones, came before the board at its Tuesday, May 12 meeting.
The board sought public comment on the policies during an April 6 workshop as well as input from department heads.
The group Citizens for Transparency in Grand County Government has been critical of the county’s credit card policies in recent months, arguing that there wasn’t enough oversight over employee spending and that policies weren’t being followed. At a commissioners’ hearing on Tuesday afternoon, May 12, the group presented non-itemized receipts from credit card purchases made by Commissioner James Newberry that did not include information about why the purchases were made.
During the hearing, Newberry said he “didn’t do a very good job” with reporting the expenses.
The new policy includes a detailed credit card purchase information form to be submitted with all credit card purchases.
Among the policies approved on Tuesday, a policy dictating the manner in which the board of county commissioners interacts with appointed and elected officials raised some questions from Commissioner Kris Manguso.
The policy encourages “general interaction” between the board and officials, “while respecting the lines of supervision.
If commissioners learn of an issue in an appointed official’s department, the commissioners are to contact the county manager rather than the official.
The county manager will then contact the official and report back to the commissioners.
Manguso said she felt the policy might have a chilling effect on relationships between commissioners and appointed officials.
“I don’t want it to be against county policy for a board member to talk to a department head about anything,” Manguso said. “I don’t think any of us want that.”
Commissioners Newberry did not agree.
“I think on the flip side of that, how do we know that department heads want us to communicate with them individually?” Newberry said. “I’m not saying that you cant do it, but that can be pretty intimidating for a department head.”
Commissioner Merrit Linke said he saw pros and cons on both sides of the issue.
Ultimately, the commissioners agreed that the policy allows for reasonable interaction between commissioners and department heads.
The county is currently drafting an expense and reimbursement policy to be approved by the commissioners at a later date.
The policy, discussed at a May 11 workshop, lays out guidelines for mileage, parking and meal reimbursements.
The draft dictates that mileage will be allowed based on documentation from online mapping services.
Regarding meal expenses, the draft states that employees will not be reimbursed for alcoholic beverages and tips over 20 percent, among other things.
The draft also requires employees to submit itemized receipts for each expense.
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The Colorado Department of Transportation has closed Colorado Highway 125 in Grand County while crews work to clear the route of mud, debris and snagged trees piled up on various bridges and guardrails.