Council Member Ilagan's response to the Legislative Auditor's audit of pCard use
News Release from Hawaii County Council member Greggor Ilagan July 22, 2015
PUNA – Council member Greggor Ilagan is introducing a bill to clarify that the use of public funds for personal purposes, including travel and entertainment, is prohibited.
The bill is being introduced in accordance with the recommendation by Legislative Auditor Bonnie S. Nims that the Hawai‘i County Code should be amended to bring it in line with state law. His office will try to put it on a Committee agenda scheduled for August 18, 2015.
Personal use of the public money and property is prohibited by Article VII, Section 4 of the Hawai‘i State Constitution and by Section 103D-101 of the Hawai‘i Revised Statutes. However, in light of recent revelations regarding the apparent misuse of pCards for personal use, the Legislative Auditor has recommended additional language be inserted into the County Code to leave no doubt as to the responsibility that County officials and employees have to uphold the public’s trust.
“In recent months, members of the public and the media have asked me what actions I was going to take regarding pCards,” Ilagan said. “I said I would wait to see what the Auditor recommends, and then work to implement those recommendations. Now that the recommendation is released, this bill is the result.”
The audit states that “The County of Hawaii’s Purchasing Card (pCard) program was designed based on several industry best practices. This design has resulted in the program generally being used appropriately and achieving its objectives. However, gaps in existing policy should be addressed and program oversight could be improved.”
The section of the code that is to be amended states that the mayor or the council chair may authorize expenses in excess of established limits or may authorize meals with business meetings, awards and recognition events, and the entertainment of important persons, or may approve exceptions with good cause to any provision relating to travel and expense.
The latest version of Ilagan’s bill adds the language that “no exception involving public funds shall be authorized without a public purpose.” A copy of the bill is available from the office upon request.
The audit is available here.