City revisits credit card policies to fix ‘bad practices’
by Michael Langley
Mar 21, 2014 | 9752 views | 50 50 comments | 34 34 recommendations | email to a friend | print
A review of five years of statements for every credit card and store account maintained by the city of Tracy reveals patterns of some employees using their city-issued cards for personal purchases and then paying the city back.

Immediately after the termination of former City Manager Leon Churchill’s contract March 5 for using his city-issued credit card for personal charges, the City Council instructed the city staff to conduct a thorough review of the city books to see if there were any other problems.

“That really is the intent, to try to identify any decade-old bad practices that we have exercised here in the city and just correct that,” interim City Manager Maria Hurtado said in an interview Wednesday.

Those practices included the city issuing 160 different credit cards and store cards to city employees and allowing some of them to make personal charges and repay the city the amount charged.

The root of the problem

Jenny Haruyama, city administrative services director, is leading the review with police Chief Gary Hampton, who is the acting interim assistant city manager. They have hired Chavan and Associates of San Jose to audit their records and findings.

Haruyama, interviewed Tuesday hours before giving an update on the inquiry to the City Council during its regular meeting, said that part of the problem was a lack of understanding about what was required for adequate checks and balances with city spending.

“Department directors really have that autonomy to determine who in their department gets a credit card,” she said. “Anybody that makes a credit card purchase under a department head, that department head is responsible for sanctioning those, authorizing those.”

Each city employee with a credit card is required to submit an explanation of the charges along with the monthly billing statement for each card they carry. Haruyama said it was clear that the city was getting incomplete forms.

“As we’re going through this preliminary process, we’re learning what really needs to happen in terms of clarification on source documentation that’s provided in explanation,” she said.

After a public records request Jan. 8, the Press reviewed five years of records for every credit card and store card maintained by the city. The records show 54 US Bank credit cards and 106 cards from stores including Costco, Chevron, Home Depot, Orchard Supply Hardware, Sears, Staples, Radio Shack and Walmart.

“I think that list you have is accurate,” Haruyama said. “In my preliminary discussions with an external auditor, (the number of cards is) too high and it does need to come down. When you have a number like that, you need to look at your risk and your exposure.”

That risk includes the potential for internal and external fraud.

“I do not have data on any fraud per se,” she said. “My guess is that it’s very reasonable, but in this day and age, as you’ve seen the identity theft and all that increase, you’re going to have that regardless.”

The administrative services director said she agreed with a recommendation from the auditor to immediately reduce the number of cards underwritten by the city.

“Think about it, if you’re a homeowner and you’ve got seven credit cards, you are setting yourself up for potential fraud, identity theft. Anything could go wrong, the more exposure you have. So the fewer cards you have, when you’re strategic on who has those cards, the better you can control some of those potential issues,” Haruyama said.

Tuesday night at the City Council meeting, Haruyama and Hampton reported that they had already cut the number by more than half, to 75 cards citywide.

Personal use of city cards

The review of city records by the Press found that Churchill was not the only city employee to use his city-issued card for personal reasons.

The former cultural arts manager for performing arts at the Grand Theatre Center for the Arts, Jeffrey Haskett, submitted at least two credit card statements with handwritten notes in the margin about personal expenditures.

A charge on Haskett’s card on Feb. 7, 2012, included an addendum that he had repaid the city for the item with personal check No. 2025. Further personal expenses were marked on an April 2012 statement for charges March 28 and April 1.

One charge made by the executive assistant to the city manager, Sharon Davis, was on behalf of Mayor Pro Tem Michael Maciel for a conference he attended Sept. 5-7, 2012.

“I went to San Diego for the League of California Cities convention and had the option of taking my wife, at my expense,” Maciel said in an interview Tuesday. “I don’t book those directly, so the city manager’s secretary said, ‘I’ll book the flight, but you have to pay me.’”

At the time, Maciel thought nothing was amiss with the practice.

“I didn’t know they were doing it with a credit card. She just said, ‘Here’s my cost, here’s what it’s going to cost, bring me a check.’ I brought her a check,” he said.

When asked if repaying the city for some personal charges was accepted practice in years past, Haruyama, who was hired in August 2012, said she did not have enough history with the city to say for sure.

“I couldn’t say that,” she said, adding, “I could reasonably guestimate, based on some of the patterns that we see, that that’s a possibility.”

Hurtado, who has been with the city eight years, said personal credit card use had never risen to the point of being a problem.

“I have not heard of any of those personal things,” she said. “What I can tell you is that what we have found with this preliminary review is that although there are several examples where some charges were done in the spirit of the policy, it wasn’t really to the letter of the policy.”

The letter of the policy

The city of Tracy adopted an administrative policy Jan. 12, 1996, governing the use of city credit cards. The use of those cards for personal charges is mentioned only once, in Part 3 of Section 2: “City credit cards are the property of the City and the individual charge cards are issued and intended for City business related expenses only.”

The policy does not overtly discuss a prohibition of or penalty for personal charges. The city did not update the policy until January 2013, and it did so then only after the City Council was made aware that the city manager had used a city card for personal purchases.

The council reprimanded Churchill on Aug. 22, 2012, for credit card misuse after an independent auditor, Moss, Levy & Hartzheim LLP, found the personal charges and told the city attorney.

Churchill was disciplined again Dec. 17, under the new policy, for using his card for personal charges at an unspecified time in 2013. Press research found two charges that year: one on April 18 for $110.88, which he repaid by check May 1, and the second on Aug. 22 for $244.17, which was repaid Sept. 13 by check.

That policy states in Section 4 that “personal use of a city credit card by an employee under any circumstance is strictly prohibited.”

The interim city manager said the data gathered so far had not revealed any criminal intent on the part of any city employee, including a finding from San Joaquin District Attorney James Willett about Churchill’s actions.

“I personally don’t feel that there is intent and wrongdoing throughout the organization,” Hurtado said. “I really do feel, given our preliminary review, that there are a couple of isolated cases, and we’re going to address those. For the rest of the organization, what the preliminary review has shed light on is that there is just this lack of understanding of what the policy is.”

Other issues

The city’s overhaul of its financial policies will also respond to some issues that came to light in the records reviewed by the Press.

Several statements throughout the records from 2009 through 2014 showed past-due balances. In one example, from a Costco American Express card issued to Director of Development Services Andrew Malik, the card carried a $105.66 balance that was 30 days past due on a statement dated Dec. 1, 2011. That same card showed an $89 past-due balance on a May 1, 2012, statement.

Haruyama, who said Tuesday that the city was responsible for paying off all 160 city cards, explained that those late balances were the result of a lack of communication with the finance department.

“That’s something we’re also looking at. Sometimes departments will not get the information to Finance in a timely way,” Haruyama said. “That’s kind of an efficiency issue that we need to explore. When we don’t get it, that’s what happens. Clearly there are some processes that we need to work on.”

The problem, she said, might be a direct result of recession layoffs of more than 100 city workers in 2009 and 2010, including many whose job it was to monitor credit card use.

“You really lost a level of accountability in the organization,” Haruyama said. “Those were a lot of managers, a lot of supervisors.”

Haruyama told the City Council, in her public report Tuesday night, that she and Hampton had begun looking at systemic changes to manage those gaps in oversight.

In addition to reducing the number of cards, the finance department will offer the council monthly public reports on financial matters, initiate better internal controls, investigate potential misuse and even make financial data available to the public on the city website.

“It’s unfortunate that we had this incident,” Haruyama said, referring to the firing of Churchill, “but the silver lining is that we are taking a closer look at what we are doing.”

• Contact Michael Ellis Langley at mlangley@tracypress.com or 830-4231.
Comments
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batmobile
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March 27, 2014
I'm actually absolutely right Rosa. It matters nothing who is swayed because its history now, but if this comes out of a closed session and the DA passes on it as pcmiles noted; the only thing that was served in the open was to create a way to figuratively lynch the feller for political reasons.

The reprimanding of employees is typically done that way. The Costco credit account is typically paid 30/60/90/or more.

The other thing it serves is to get people like yourself rootin/tootin. And then he walks. If what you say is true, it should be clear why people don't care about this issue. You don't even care anymore than hatemongering. Why should anyone else get involved in your mud slinging escapades?
rosa62
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March 27, 2014
Whatever batmobile.
cody01
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March 26, 2014
As I stated in my Witch hunting comment; If it is general practice, Has been general practice, Policy never has been an issue according to Haruyama whom stated the specifics as to the exact policy stated in the statement.lol. Everyone that was involved with those cards and, Knew of the unwritten policy to use City credit cards for personal use then pay it back. Practice over policy. If it is a general practice by all those that held city credit cards, I'm sure these card holders were notified of the actual policy concerning the use of aforesaid cards.

Everyone knew. Everyone didn't follow policy. Even those that implemented said policy. Let it go. Move on. Money got paid back. As far as they didn't supply proper form documentation as to all card transactions, Its on the card statements.
TelaCommuter
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March 25, 2014
I agree with the use of the word witch-hunting. They did the same thing to Jan, because Mike tried to help her.

Rosa,

He was such a nice guy. Loved his food at the corner of sixth, but its well known he was a liberal. Loved the guys food, didn't care for his politics.

Also, he didn't hold a candle to what Churchill did for our community. Amazon and etc.

I'm not going to continue ripping him a new one.

Everyone has good things and weak spots.

Focusing on the good and not the bad. Churchill helped Tracy's economy by moving mountains.

If he paid it back, that's all I care.
NoniA
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March 26, 2014
TelaCommuter...who is "they" what is the "thing" they did to Jan? WHAT has that to do with this?????

Because Mr. Morelos (yes, let's name him") "didn't hold a candle to what Churchill did for this commnity" we should let Mr. Churchill continue to "misuse" our credit card.

Mr. Churhill was doing the job he was hired for and he was paid very well. If he did less, then he should not have kept his job.

It scares me that so many like you think it is O.K. to do whatever they want as long as they do their job well. Maybe your boss should check into your arrangement.
cody01
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March 27, 2014
I agree. There are no numbers. How much was actually used for personal use.

These personal "Loans" Off City credit cards.

The monies were "NOT" embezzled. Go read the codes at:Find California Code.

Churchill took the power away from a whistle blower by telling on himself. There is really no other reason for him to do it publicly during a meeting of City Counsel.

1.Pull up everyone that had a city card.

2.Do each of them as is done to Churchill.

3. Fire everyone on city counsel that attempted to cover up Churchill mistake.

4. Replace counsel with whistle blower and buddies.

5. Apply Marshall law.

There! All done.

batmobile
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March 27, 2014
I guarantee you that this is NOT all done.

What drives this is not a desire to go to AG/DA. Read pcmiles comments carefully. He went to court and lost. What's blatantly obvious is this. The goal was NEVER to take this to the DA/AG. They admitted that publically.

The intent was to capture 3 of the city council members who would upset the initial decision to reprimand him in a closed session, and drag it into an open session where 3 members could be swayed by the few.
rosa62
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March 27, 2014
You're absolutely wrong batmobile. The reason Maciel and Ives wanted to deal with this in closed session was so they could intimidate that swing vote to go their way. That way they could use the cloak of closed session as a shield to protect them from public responsibility for their vote.

It's good that this became a public issue because that made Maciel and Ives change their votes. I believe all government business should be conducted in public. That's what open government is really all about.
batmobile
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March 24, 2014
Witchunting season usually opens in November. This year the poachers have got an early start.
monsterdad3k
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March 23, 2014
At the time, Maciel thought nothing was amiss with the practice.

“I didn’t know they were doing it with a credit card.


Talk about playing dumb, how did he think they were booking an airline flight and hotel reservation in 2012?

Wampum? Pony Express? Mailing a check?

Regardless, at least the city is looking at credit card usage by employees and updating old policies from 1996. I don't buy the claim people were unclear about using the card. They knew, they were just trying to push the boundaries as people are inclined to do. Hopefully this resolves the issue going forward.

batmobile
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March 23, 2014
I have traveled many times and the fact is , it ain't easy when you want to travel with a spouse. Either you have to pay for it with your credit card separately and submit one for reimbursement

Or you have to buy a separate seat for your spouse. Good luck with that.

Or you have to get the company to but two adjacent seats and pay the difference.

Most company policies are changing and that's why I just refuse to travel anymore .
rayderfan
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March 24, 2014
I spoke with a few City employees over the weekend. They told me that in most cases, unless you're a Department Head or an Assistant Department Head your credit card is kept in the safe at the office, which means only the top management people get to carry their cards with them at all times.

What this tells me is the Mayor and City Council don't have a clue as to what goes on in City Hall when they aren't around. City Management is just trying to spread the impact out over all the employees so they don't have to take the brunt of the hit for their misuse of the cards. Thats why we need a full blown audit of all the city accounts so we can see exactly what's up and how our tax dollars are being mis-used.

By the way monsterdad3k, Maciel's not playing.
patRobertsen
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March 23, 2014
Like I said. The witch hunters are still at it. I paid attention when leaders in Bell CA never paid anything back. They caught him and he paid back all the money, that's all I care.

Anything more is up to the witch hunters. I don't care to argue with Rosa and others who are still miffed that El Castillo's owner didn't get appointed.

Most of the people who witch hunt in the paper fall into the same category as sore losers who didn't vote for someone who won the last council seat.

The people I voted for didn't win, but I'm willing to move on. If your candidate didn't win and didn't get appointed, it might be for a good reason we have majority vote.

I prefer it that way because I'm not foolish to believe I am perfect all the time either. I sometimes vote for someone who wins and sometimes not. That's all folks and it is easier for me to accept that nobody else is perfect either.

As long as he paid it back, good luck to him and his own. Bell was a totally different story. There is no way in hels half acre they can pay all that back..
NoniA
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March 24, 2014
I resent being called a witch hunter! The people I voted for won. I do not care about a swimming pool etc....I do not have a person agenda!

IF Mr. Churchill would have come forward BEFORE he was caught and paid the credit card charges(after already have been caught "misusing" his credit card) he would probably STILL have his job...he did not!!!

As a citizen of Tracy I have a right to expect honesty in the employees, no matter their position. I also have a right to my opinion without being attacked!
rayderfan
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March 24, 2014
I think once again you've missed the entire point here pat. NoniA is absolutely correct. I too expect complete honesty from my city officials, not honesty after they've been caught (twice) with their hand in the cookie jar.

Mr. Churchill's behavior makes me wonder how many times he misused his card and didn't get caught. Besides, "True Leadership" is about how you behave when no one is looking, not how you behave after you get caught (twice).
victor_jm
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March 24, 2014
"No one is perfect." "I'm not perfect." What pathetic rejoinders.

I don't use them.

It seems as, instead of pursuing perfection and accepting we fail to achieve it, at times, we (many of us) now seem to operate with the idea of imperfection as a reality we may possibly transcend, once in a while.

The person who lives life saying "no one is perfect" demeans human potential and accepts our contemporary "possible world" as if it can't be more humane.

Half of our economy is about validating the "imperfection" ethic, because it sells.

Keep feeding the squalid cows to the privileged dogs.
fortheunderdog
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March 24, 2014
patRobertson, you've got to get off of your witch hunt campaign. This isn't about witch hunting, it's about right and wrong.

Whether or not anyone's candidate won or lost, the point of this entire snafu is the misuse of a city credit card. Whether my candidate won or lost, I would expect whoever won would follow the rules and not second guess what is right...or wrong.

Now it's come out that others in city government have also misused their credit card and you're probably on the side of the fence with others who are saying so what "As long as he paid it back...".

It's time for a thorough look to see just who the other people are. It's also time to clean house of these people who think they're above others by not following rules.

Consider this...IF the officials in Bell were able to pay back what they wrongfully took from the city would you let them off the hook? Me? Hell no!

fortheunderdog
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March 24, 2014
And just for good measure. Just who were the two city officials who appeared on a local television channel, and actually defended Churchill's action? And after further investigation turned around and voted to terminate Churchill's contract with the city. Yep, good ole boys Ives and Maciel. If people weren't criticizing their actions do you think they would have changed their tune? Absolutely not! Political careers are made or lost at the drop of a hat! Looks like both of these guys just lost their hat.
rosa62
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March 24, 2014
I didn't vote for mr. Morelos, and I resent the insulation that this is why I commented the way I did, patRoberts. Obviously you are on the side of supporting irresponsibility at city hall by making comments like yours.

I don't care who is on the council, the behavior of Churchill was intolerable and should have been dealt with sooner. But then why should we expect that to happen when we now find out that both Churchill, and now Maciel, are both dirty when it comes to the use of city credit cards. Churchill directly and Maciel indirectly.

I think it's time for a good old fashioned spring cleaning at city hall.
patRobertsen
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March 23, 2014
I see the witch hunters are still at it.

Probably worse stuff in the news to worry about.

Some financial idiots are now saying the current admin in Washington DC did a good thing incentivizing the economy.

At least Churchill paid it back.
fortheunderdog
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March 23, 2014
You know, patRobertesn, there is more "worse stuff in the news to worry about." but there's also news in this little part of the world. Just because worse things are happening around us shouldn't mean that our city leaders can run amok.

You're statement "At least Churchill paid it back" isn't what this is all about. He misused a city provided credit card more than once and over a period of time. If its use wasn't caught and brought to his attention would it have ever been paid back?

Now it's discovered that other city employees have also used their city credit card. Is this something that is done in other cities? Who cares? This city's rules are spelled out clearly. If one cannot follow the rule something should be done about it. If terminating these other persons, who have done the same as Churchill, is what's called for, then so be it. Let's clear house and start anew and maybe the "good ole boy" attitude of this city government will see that they're not as untouchable as they think they are.
rosa62
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March 23, 2014
Fortheunderdog is correct. This is about following the rules established by the council. Overlooking a violation such as this can result in more significant violations in the future. Let's get this under control while we still can.

I'm sure Bell, Ca. Had the same scenario and no one stopped it early. See where that got them?
patRobertsen
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March 23, 2014
Rosa is miffed because the old hombre she voted for didn't get appointed to the council.
rosa62
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March 24, 2014
Again pat. I didn't vote for Mr. Morelos, but maybe I should have. Clearly he might not have allowed this type of behavior To occur. He would be better than the current Mayor and Mayor Pro Tem.
MrSycamore
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March 22, 2014
I can't believe were still talking about this. Let's leave City staff alone! Let's move forward!
Ornley_Gumfudgen
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March 23, 2014
Have ta agree with ya, it seem ta be an OCD fixation. Gone fer over a week an people are still carryin on about it. Makes ya wonder what else ain't gettin accomplished cus thair spendin so much time on somethang like this?

Still thank it's all politically motivated just ta install thair members on City Council. In that vein nothin seems ta have really changed cus that's been a tactic that's been goin on fer many decades.

Well got better thangs ta worry about than all of this cus worryin an frettin about it ain't gonna really change th overall outcome.

So someone gets thair stooge on Council, then someone else will complain about him or her not doin thair jobs fer th city an launch yet another paper tiger campaign th install their own on City Council. A never endin story with not much progress bein made.

I'll check back next week or so ta see if this nonsense is still goin on.
victor_jm
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March 24, 2014
Seems to have the force of the illegal immigration discussion we've had for at least 30 years now.

This country will never do anything about illegal immigration and one day English will be an elective.

wpatteson
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March 22, 2014
The West High Leadership class sweatshirt for this year states "Leadership is not class position or title, it is an EXAMPLE".

The kids may struggle with algebra/geometry and Human Physiology, but they are smart and they are watching.
ketchupsavegetable
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March 22, 2014
What a cookie jar the government of Tracy has become, and it's not exactly on a high shelf. Expressions like "bad practices" and "not revealed any criminal intent" can only mean one thing: any hope in cleaning up this city has to come from the outside. Period.
cody01
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March 22, 2014
Exactly what I said a month ago. Pay large amounts of $ for an audit.

Quote all the codes you want. Not the way it works. If you think the judicial system pays any attention to the law you are way out of touch.

It states clearly this, It states clearly that.

So what.

It would only matter if they cared.

pcmiles
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March 22, 2014
Some observations:

1) The article does not mention Resolution 2007-075 (www.tracy-ca.us/2007-075.pdf) which deals with policy governing travel and expense reimbursement for elected and appointed officials. Exhibit A defines authorized expenses – "All other expenditures require prior approval by the City Council."

Using a City Credit card for expenses other than those defined in the Resolution, without explicit Council authorization, would constitute a (felony) violation of PC § 424 (a) (1) according to the DA's own analysis (www.tracy-ca.us/DA_on_Churchill.pdf). Resolution 2007-075 was apparently not provided to the DA.

pcmiles
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March 22, 2014
2) Section I of Exhibit A states: "Except as allowed under Section B(3), credit cards may not be used for personal expenses, even if the official subsequently reimburses the City." Contrary to the 1996 policy, this resolution overtly prohibits personal charges. Exception B(3) refers to expenses incurred on behalf of accompanying family members. As much as I support Mr. Churchill's firing, and as much as I believe Mr. Maciel should be removed from office for negligence and violation of oath, I have to acknowledge that their use, direct or indirect, of City credit cards for this purpose was within policy. (What does our City Attorney do all day? Why doesn't he clarify these issues?)
pcmiles
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March 22, 2014
3) Ms. Hurtado's observation that the DA's opinion had nothing to say about criminal intent is entirely accurate, simply because the law does not require criminal intent (see PC § 7). If it did, then ignorance of the law would be a completely satisfactory defense. I repeatedly hear this 'absence of criminal intent' argument applied to the actions of police and City officials. It seems that they must abide by a completely different set of rules than the rest of us.
batmobile
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March 26, 2014
Who cares?

No seriously. Who cares?
rayderfan
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March 21, 2014
Ms. Haruyama said; “Think about it, if you’re a homeowner and you’ve got seven credit cards, you are setting yourself up for potential fraud, identity theft."

Ms. Haruyama this isn't about identify theft, this is about theft of public tax dollars. I commend you for trying to clean up the mess left to you by years of financial mismanagement by "The Almighty Zane Johnston".

This entire situation should be a wake-up call to the Mayor, City Council and the public that you should never blindly trust your appointed public officials. Clearly "Zane" was alseep at the wheel and Churchill took advantage of that.

Finally; To Councilman Maciel. You've said in previous comments from the dias, that you didn't violate the policy because you don't have a City credit card. That is a given, but the reality is you did violate the policy by failing to make sure your wife's trip was paid for by you initially, rather than allowing a city employee to violate the city policy on your behalf.

You were a city employee, before you were a Councilman. You should have known better and gone the extra mile to make sure Ms. Davis didn't violate the policy. Ignorance of the policy is no excuse.
rayderfan
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March 21, 2014
Maybe the city should start with the department heads, who clearly do not understand the policy. Mr. Malik carries a overdue balance at Costco? Was his card used for personal purchases or for city purchases? Either way a past due balance, when you make well over $150,000 per year, is unacceptable.

"Hurtado, who has been with the city eight years, said personal credit card use had never risen to the point of being a problem."

Clearly she doesn't have a clue about what's going on because her boss was one of the biggest abusers. Hurtado is the Assistant City Manager and she was unaware of Malik's situation? Seems to me like she was asleep at the wheel as well.

Should she be the "Interim City Manager"?

What do her credit card statements look like? Has she been using her credit card for personal purchases. Her boss was, and clearly he was setting a bad example for his direct reports.

I think it's time for a complete audit of every city account so we can make absolutely sure everything is above board. I realize it will cost quite a bit but that's the cost of doing business.

Unless, of course, the Mayor and Council are affraid of what they might find.
rosa62
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March 27, 2014
Your comments don't make much sense batmobile so please clarify what you mean.

I think this should all be dealt with publicly, that way no one can hide anything. Let's get everything out there on the table so we can deal with all misuse of public monies. If a city employee has misused their credit card they should be fired.

Period!!!

If they can't manage their budget and make sure their department's bills are paid on time, they should be fired.

Period!!!

If they violate city policy multiple times they should be fired.

Period!!!

Is that clear enough? It should be that simple.

rosa62
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March 26, 2014
Your line of thinking mdsmith17 and batmobile; Is the very reason why we're dealing with this in the first place.

Sweeping something like this under the carpet by justifying it based on what everyone knows is common practice doesn't make the behavior acceptable.
rosa62
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March 26, 2014
batmobile; Everybody also knows that people cheat on their taxes, shop lift from stores, dine and dash at restaurants, and skip out on their rent and house payments.

That doesn't make any of those actions right does it? My answer is a resounding "NO".

So to say that everybody knows how organizations pay their bills doesn't absolve Malik from his responsibility as a Department Head, to make sure his bills; whether personal or municipal, are paid on time.
batmobile
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March 25, 2014
rosa62,

Everybody knows how organizations pay bills. I don't know if others work for the city and I don't really care. But its not unusual what smith said
rosa62
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March 25, 2014
You must be a city employee mdsmith17. How would you know how the city pays their bills? You're probably an employee of Malik's.

I think rayderfan is right on the mark. There's no reason for Malik to allow an overdue balance, given he is the department head who should make sure his bills are paid, whether his personal bill or a city bill. Carrying a past due balance causes undue interest charges which is a waste of taxpayer dollars.

If Malik was paying attention to business this wouldn't have happened. Besides, how do we know it wasn't charges for his personal use? At this point all of the people who had credit cards should be subject to scrutiny.
mdsmith17
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March 25, 2014
Way to backtrack on what you said Rayderfan. With that kind of back peddling I see a future in politics for you!
rayderfan
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March 24, 2014
I understand that mdsmith17 but my question was geared toward the ongoing pattern of card misuse and Malik's capability to lead a city department.

First; Do you know for sure whether, or not, Malik used the card for city business or for personal expenditures? My guess would be you don't. That needs to be clarified.

Second; If he used it for personal matters did he reimburse the city for those expenditures, which by the way would be a violation of city policy and grounds for discipline. If not then he needs to make sure his department is more efficient on paying their bills.

Third; Malik is responsible for his Department making arrangements to pay their bills on time so ultimately he owns this situation.

Fourth; My reference to his salary level is that we, the taxpayers, pay our City Department Heads a significant amount to be responsible for their operations. If they are unable to meet their professional requirements regarding bill payment by their department, maybe we have the wrong person (people) in there.

You really should try to keep up with the thought process mdsmith17.
mdsmith17
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March 23, 2014
Rayder fan wrote: "Mr. Malik carries a overdue balance at Costco? Was his card used for personal purchases or for city purchases? Either way a past due balance, when you make well over $150,000 per year, is unacceptable."

First thing you have to do is understand what it is you are talking about when commenting on these things. Mr. Malik's salary and this overdue credit card have nothing to do with each other. The credit card belongs to the City and it's the City that pays the balance, not Mr. Malik. All the article is saying is that credit card was paid late by the city two times. This is not uncommon at all and credit card companies who issue cards to Government agencies know this. Cities don't just get the bill and pay it. The bill has to be reconciled first and then paid and that an take some extra time with a government agency.

rosa62
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March 22, 2014
I fully agree with LeonsFired. Churchill wasn't fired because of his race so don't even go there pso17. Besides Churchill got several chances to clean his act up and he just couldn't control himself.

The problem is that he believed himself to be larger than life and that the City owed him for what he believed to be "greatness". He was so caught up in his own ego he thought he would never get caught.

On another note to the editor's of the TP. Churchill was fired. Termination of his contract is termination of the individual. The contract is simply the document that outlines how he will be dealt with when he is asked, or in this case, told to leave. So for the record;

"Churchill was FIRED."

Had the Mayor and City Council chosen to terminate his contract they would be facing legal action from Churchill for violating the terms and conditions set forth in his contract.

In the future, stop trying to sugar coat things so Churchill can escape public responsibility for his actions. This man should never work in Federal, State or Local government again.
LeonsFired
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March 22, 2014
Don't go there pso17 with the race card bs. Leon was previously told not to use public cards for personal use and he admittedly continued to do so. We can't have a leader set standards like this. It's an embarrassment for the city of Tracy. For these reasons he deserved to get fired. I would say any other city employee who was warned not to abuse the city issued card and still did also deserves to be fired.
pso17
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March 21, 2014
So they found several others violating the credit card policy. So who is next to be fired for using their city issued credit card for personal use while paying it back like your City Manager. I am slowly reaching into my wallet, there it is, throwing out the race card.
batmobile
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March 27, 2014
Life is not so simple Rosa. The POTUS squandered more than just $100.00 credit card and never bothered to pay it back.

We don't need to go around witchunting others because you interpret misuse as a felony when its convenient for you politically.

That goes for the POTUS and on down to everyone else. There is a system in place that says innocent until proven guilty.

What if a spouse misused them? There are a lot of questions that a judge could have asked, while foregoing the witchunting. But we will never know. Oh, but you will.

I on the other hand, actually believe the American system works the way it was intended. You can continue with your witchunting


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