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To Emerge - January 30 - Lost Receipts (1)

To Emerge - January 30 - Lost Receipts (1)

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Published by EmergePeoria

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Published by: EmergePeoria on Feb 02, 2014
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02/08/2014

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Recently, I wrote a FOIA request for 70 receipts for various P-Card charges that I found
interesting and/or questionable. I would very much appreciate the input of Emerge’s posters
about various issues raised by these receipts. First of all, 30 of the 70
receipts can’t be found. The response to my FOIA reads, ―Please note
our efforts continue to locate additional response of documentation.
 QUESTION
: The obvious query is ―Did I just happen to ask for 30 receipts that had already  been lost?‖ or ―Did someon
e wish to keep these receipts from me?
If the latter is the c
ase, then I should understandably be curious as to why this information was withheld. Eighteen of the missing receipts with charges totaling $28,997.02 were for purchases at Office Depot. However, the charges were spread over a two-year period. Twenty-nine of the charges were made on the P-Card of a secretary at the administration building, who undoubtedly was ordering at the behest of Dr. Lathan or another administrator.  No matter who charged these particular transactions, Dr. Lathan is ultimately responsible  because the P-Card policy states that Dr. Lathan must authorize any single purchase of $500 or more and any monthly totals over $1,000 of an individual cardholder. The policy does not state whether or not the authorization should be in writing; however, if the policy is to be credible, there must be a paper trail to show authorization.
Many of all cardholders’ total transactions meet these demands for Lathan’s authorization.
 In the case of the Office Depot transactions, all of them required
Dr. Lathan’s authorization,
according to the P-Card policy. Therefore, Dr. Lathan should be held personally responsible for all these Office Depot purchases. Without receipts, one of the most important safeguards of the P-Card policy is compromised. Policy requires that there is an itemized receipt for all transactions and that the cardholder write on each receipt the purpose and recipient of the items. QUESTIONS: Since the P-Card process has, in large part, replaced the Purchasing Department, who receives the supplies ordered on the cards of employees who work on Wisconsin Avenue? Would a secretary order items for a school or do all those supplies stay at the boardrooms? Who keeps track of whether or not items purchased correspond to a line item of the budget and whether or not purchases have gone over budget? RECEIPT DATE COMPANY COST FUND RECEIVED 6/10/11 Office Depot $1,069.14 Activity  NO 8/16/11 Office Depot $2,126.85 Ed  NO 9/16/11 Office Depot $1,730.24 Ed  NO 10/21/11 Office Depot $663.89 Ed  NO 11/23/11 Office Depot $2,093.07 Ed  NO 12/15/11 Office Depot $2,727.95 Ed  NO
 
2/4/12 Office Depot $988.57 Ed  NO 3/21/12 Office Depot $447.55 Ed  NO 8/10/12 Office Depot $1,133.01 Ed  NO 9/7/12 Office Depot $890.18 Ed  NO 9/18/12 Office Depot $649.39 Ed  NO 9/27/12 Office Depot $1,336.58 Ed  NO 10/26/12 Office Depot $3,128.60 Ed  NO 11/21/12 Office Depot $3,170.21 Ed  NO 12/21/12 Office Depot $2,102.97 Ed  NO 2/8/13 Office Depot $1,639.19 Ed  NO 4/26/13 Office Depot $1,754.63 Ed  NO 6/7/13 Office Depot $1,345.00 Ed  NO $28,997.02 Five of the thirty missing receipts were for transactions with florists for a total of $203.26. Because there is no receipt, the purposes and recipients of these transactions are unavailable. When teachers want to send flowers for occasions such as funerals, they use Flower Fund money in schools where teachers contribute a certain amount per year for times when they use to show condolences, appreciation, and congratulations, etc., or money is collected from those who wish to give to a particular cause. Again, the following transactions were generated on Wisconsin
Avenue, so it isn’t much of a stretch to believe that when administrators wi
sh to send flowers, they might well use education money (taxpayer money that is set aside for educational purposes). Their gestures of sympathy, etc., might well appear insincere since taxpayers paid the bill. QUESTION: Do you believe that these florist bills should be paid for with Education Fund money
 — 
or from any other District 150 fund?
6/30/11
Prospect Florist
$32.01 Ed
 NO
8/12/11
Beck’s Florist
 $44.84 Ed
 NO
4/17/12
Beck’s Florist
 $42.46 Ed
 NO
6/11/12
Beck’s Florist
 $34.00 Ed
 NO
7/31/13
Beck
’s Florist
 
$49.95
Ed
 NO The following transaction, for which there was a receipt with the appropriate information written on it, might have been reimbursed with Activity Fund money, but it was originally paid for with
a principal’s P
-Card. 6/25/11 1-800-Flowers-NY $55.97 Activity Fund
 – 
 1 plant and balloon Message: Sending you healing thoughts and a little sunshine to brighten your day. We love you, your friends at _____(school) QUESTION: If this is a case of an adult sending flowers to an adult, then the question must
 be, ―Is this an appropriate use of Activity Fund money?‖ It very well might be,
 depending on how Activity Fund money is generated.
 
The lost receipts for the following transactions are for retail purchases. Ordinarily, these transactions do not
require Lathan’s approval because they are under
$500. However, most--if not all of these--were charged to a cardholder who spent more than $1,000 (including the
transactions in question) for the whole month; therefore, Lathan’s approval would still be
needed.
1/31/13
Peoria Civic Center $336.00 Ed
 NO
6/29/12
Bergner’s
 $50.00 Ed
 NO
8/27/12
Kohl’s
 $259.19 Ed
 NO
8/6/12
Kohl’s
 $277.96 Ed
 NO
6/30/11
Barnes and Noble $50.00 Ed
 NO QUESTION: Should the board, auditors, and the public just assume that all these purchases
from retail stores were for educational purchases? The $50 charge to Bergner’s
looks as though it could be a Gift Card, which would probably not be appropriate. There are so many of these questionable purchases on card statements. How can we assume there is no charge-card abuse? Should Lathan and the board be as culpable as the person who made the charge
 — 
if it is deemed inappropriate? Thanks for your opinions
 — 
feel free to disagree with my opinions or to defend the practices described above. Sharon Crews

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