Use your county credit card without the right paperwork and you’ll lose it.
It’s happened on Kauai, which revoked some government spending cards.
After Big Island Mayor Billy Kenoi’s pCard spending habits came to light, Always Investigating has been examining all government credit cards.
This time, we’re on the Kauai stack, and they show a very low tolerance for mishandling the privilege.
Click to view the pCard statements for Kauai County Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr.
County purchasing or pCard procedures are clear. Purchases must serve an official purpose and the employee needs to turn in an explanation along with receipts.
That didn’t always happen on the Big Island as Kenoi’s recent pCard scandal has shown, in which he used taxpayer money to fund personal outings to hostess bars, or buy a bike and a surfboard before eventually paying it back.
There are no receipts and it went on for years.
Over on Kauai, it’s a different story. Always Investigating has learned that county has yanked pCards from staff, like an administrative assistant with the Office of the Prosecuting Attorney and another who worked at the parks department.
They didn’t buy anything prohibited. They were just sloppy or slow with the paperwork.
“When that occurs, basically, and its repetitive, then the pCard administrator has the authority to consult with the director of finance and seek permission to suspend pCard use or revoke it altogether,” said Ernest Barreira, assistant chief procurement officer with the Kauai Department of Finance. “There were some minor procedural errors, but it occurred more than once where receipts were not being maintained properly.”
Always Investigating also reviewed Mayor Bernard Carvalho’s spending on his pCard.
Since the start of 2013, he’s spent more than $5,000 on travel and about $4,400 on meals, usually at Gaylords or JJ’s Broiler.
All expenses came with paperwork about who, what, when and why the county was picking up the tab.
Just over a week ago, after Kenoi’s spending came to light, Carvalho stepped forward to pay back $136 for a few early boarding passes on a January 2015 flight.
“We are very conscientious, and we always say the mayor sets the standard for the rest of us here. I think this is proof of that,” Barreira said. “With that type of leadership, it makes it very easy for the rest of us to carry on and follow the same standards that he set.”
Carvalho’s spending card does show airline seat upgrades. Barreira says those are fine.
“The mayor, at 6-foot-5 and a retired professional athlete, a very big fellow, is going to need an accommodation, a reasonable accommodation, to assure some reasonable comfort during these types of business trips,” he said.