State agencies should exercise stronger internal controls of state credit care use, according to a new Legislative Audit Council (LAC) report. More than 10,000 state procurement cards have been issued at 93 state agencies. Legislators asked the LAC, an independent investigative body, to review the state’s effectiveness in using the cards and whether their use is properly monitored.
LAC Director Thomas Bardin, Jr. says while the card use is beneficial to the state, investigators found that misuse can be controlled by the agencies that issue the cards to employees. The cards are used to save the state time and money by streamlining payments and paperwork. The state gets a rebate on purchases ($2.7 million in 2009) and in that same year, 26 agencies got rebate revenue.
The LAC found areas where overall improvements are needed are blocks needed to prevent certain types of purchases, controls over gift card purchases and compliance state policy regarding who gets the cards and how much they can spend.
There are specific examples of serious abuse, says Bardin. More than 43 percent of agencies they surveyed reported employees had to pay back the agency for card use and 36 percent had disciplined employees for misuse.
Even with cases of misuse, the LAC suggests that all state agencies adopt use of procurement cards. Two large agencies, Santee Cooper and the State Ports Authority, do not.