By request of commenter Nuttingham, this topic now has its own thread. The NJ reported on Sunday about the Deputy Treasurer’s misuse of her state-issued credit card. They document about $2100 in personal charges on the card, that were — eventually — reimbursed. The key part of this article (for me, at any rate) was the fact that the Finance Department flagged this pattern of misuse and couldn’t get the attention of anyone in the Treasurer’s Office. Yesterday, the Deputy Treasurer resigned and his morning, the NJ expands the report on her resignation:
In forfeiting her post, Benner also asked to reclaim her status as a state merit-system employee, which could make her eligible for placement in another state job in a different public agency, said Office of Management and Budget Director Ann Visalli.
Benner took a leave of absence from the merit system in 2011 to join Flowers’s office as a political appointee. Prior to that she worked in the Office of the Controller General, the General Assembly’s nonpartisan budget staff.
Merit rules say employees seeking a reinstatement after a leave of absence are entitled to a position for which they are qualified and which pays at least as much as the position they previously held.
So she is resigning as Deputy Treasurer, but wants to come back to work for the State in a merit position. Ann Visalli at OMB notes that they’ll look carefully at that:
“[W]hile Ms. Benner may have indicated to the Treasurer that she wishes to return to the Merit System in an agency other than the State Treasurer’s Office, her conduct first needs to be addressed by her current employing agency,” Visalli said. “It would be important to us for that to be done and for all those facts to be made clear about how these charges happened before making any determination about whether Ms. Benner can return to the merit system.”
Visalli also noted that misuse of a state credit card is grounds for dismissal under merit rules, which also require that any inappropriately spent money be repaid with interest. State policy prohibits officials from using government credit cards for any personal purchases.
The money is paid back, but while the Finance Department seemed to know about a potential issue with this woman’s card, they couldn’t get the attention of the Treasurer’s Office to get them involved in a solution. And it is really odd to me that the Finance Department caught this — where is her supervisor who should be watching over this spending? Returning to State employment raises a bunch of red flags for me, unless there is a much better explanation of why this happened.
What do you think?
Tags: State Treasurer