Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Maria Garcia's Story on P-Cards

For those of you that think that paving roads and Gandara-like credit card purchases is just something that happens in Socorro, you should watch this story done by Maria Garcia from KVIA on P-cards. 

Those are cards that are funded by taxpayers and issued to city council representatives and their staff members intended in lieu of petty cash. 

The web story is VERY different from what was aired last night. Mostly because in the story that aired last night there was basically no discussion about what the Mayor's office spent on the cards.

I'll get to that in a minute, but before I do, let me cover a couple of other things.

First, the story mentions Rep Svarzbein as having spent the least amount of money in 2015, which is the year they compiled data for in the story. Well I should hope so, he was only in office for half the year!

Put that in the "duh" category. Had you extrapolated his spending out over a year he wouldn't have been one of the lowest, but he certainly would still have been one of the lowest. Garcia also erroneously implies that Svarzbein and Ordaz have been in office a similar about of time, which is inaccurate.
Next, I almost died laughing when I heard City Rep Acosta, who was the second-highest spending of tax-payer dollars use the word "frugal" in her explanation of her spending. 


Only in the alternate reality in which Acosta lives does that statement make any sense. 
And how about that Jeremy Jordan huh? I think the real story is how much food that guy would buy on his card, at your expense. Very Jesse Gandara of him. 

But Niland, who has spent the most money, gave a rather interesting response to an expenditure on the card for Jordan's personal cell phone bill. She said Jordan "accidentally" paid his cell phone bill with that card but he paid the money back.

I heard he was audited and that is why he paid it back, but that is another story. The real interesting thing is how that was "an accident". Was he walking along a street downtown, tripped over some streetcar railing and his wallet flew out of his pocket and his p-card landed in his hand and his phone dialed his phone company and entered the digits themselves?

Because that is a pretty amazing "accident". 
The Mayor and his assistant spent almost $38 grand on their cards. I don't necessarily have a problem with that because after all, he's the Mayor. He represented the entire town, not just a district. 

But I have a MAJOR problem with his assistant Taylor Moreno spent close to $24 grand herself. I get that the mayor needs to travel a lot, but what in the blue hell is Moreno spending all that money on as a staffer?


Thomas said...

It's all good it's only the tax payers money and you know the taxpayer pockets are bottomless and have no limits in El Paso. Hey the coffer no full just pass another 300 million or more in bonds than strike up the band and let the good times roll.

Anonymous said...

I am glad you are exposing this and giving more attention to this type of expenditure. Maybe Council will post some type of limits and define appropriate spending using these cards.
24K is how much some families make all year in El Paso!

Chaparral Tumbleweed said...

One might think that Ms. Moreno may be making travel and lodging reservations for the Mayor; which need to be paid for when the arrangements are made. This would explain the majority of the expenditures.

The Lion Star said...

That doesn't explain it. She would make those arrangements on his card. I've actually done that personally for my old boss.

Michael Bray said...

Check the line items on each individual account. I would think that both cards are tied to one budget account - the Mayor's. You may have done it one way when you were in that position but that may not be the way they are handling it. In my job my admins each had a card. When one leaves we don't have to re-issue cards to everyone else, just cancel that card.

Check the line item details. If you find something improper, i.e "accidently paying a personal bill", then report it. Otherwise this is a non-issue.

Unless you are trying to "connect some dots"...