Bay City Credit Card Purchases Investigated 10-04-2010 - WNEM TV 5

Bay City Credit Card Purchases Investigated 10-04-2010

A former Bay City Commission member has presented concerns about recent city credit card purchases.
An anonymous city employee provided WNEM TV5 and ex-commissioner Marie Kurzer a list of expenditures by city department heads.
The list is from 2008 to 2010 and appears to shows that tens of thousands of dollars were allegedly charged while officials were on business trips.
The money was also spent on programs such as Take Your Child to Work Day. The list shows that $700 was spent on items such as pizza for that event.
Also listed is more than $1,000 in charges for Speedway gas cards, including a single one for $500. TV5 also discovered $100 spent on Amazon.com.
The card was used on seven pricey meals for the city manager at the Double Tree Hotel, costing taxpayers more than $200.
TV5 had some tough questions for City Manager Robert Belleman when we showed him the list on Monday. Belleman explained that the gas cards are used as prizes to boost the morale of city employees.
"We have a program in place that when an employee makes a suggestion, we issue, to the employee that came up with the suggestion that's a benefit to the city, that he get rewards through a gas card or through years of service," said Belleman.
City Hall critic Kurzer, who is considering a run for mayor, said there's no defending it. She was outraged when someone provided her with the same list.
"I am very concerned about $490 a month in gas cards for employee incentives," said Kurzer. "It's just actually kind of unbelievable and people want an answer, people want to know what its about and they have a right to know what its about."
The city manager insists adequate checks are already in place.
"I feel confident that there's nothing that's gone through on a credit card purchase that is a violation of our travel policy or our credit card policy," Belleman said.
Belleman also acknowledged that the city should look at these types of spending expenditures during the current economic downturn.
During a Monday night finance committee meeting, Belleman speculated that a disgruntled former employee was responsible for starting the controversy.
WATCH VIDEO: Bay City Commission Defends Questionable Spending:
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