Pennington County Commission Chair might have consulted Ms. Manners.

The Rapid City Journal is reporting about a bit of a tiff within the Pennington County Commission. Apparently the Chair sent out a letter instead of asking about it. (Where have I heard about something like that before? It's escaping me at the moment.)
Though they manage a $50 million budget each year, Pennington County commissioners on Monday argued over a $200 petty cash fund. The commission established the petty cash fund in October to be used for small, emergency expenses or for buying food for special functions where the majority of participants are not county employees, such as an annual meeting with local legislators before the state legislative session begins.

The fund is not to be used to buy flowers or sympathy cards or to reimburse the costs of individual meals, registration fees or travel expenses.

Commissioner Gale Holbrook has been using the fund to buy pizza for twice-a-month, noon-hour meetings of the sexual-predator committee he leads. That group was formed last August to gather information and discuss ways that families can better protect themselves.

“Those people give up their lunch hour when they might have something else to do,” Holbrook said. “I didn’t think I was out of line.”

Commission Chairman Ken Davis recently sent a letter to the commission expressing concern about spending down the petty cash fund to buy lunch every time that committee meets.

“I’m wondering, and I think other commissioners are wondering, how long we’re going to continue to pay for lunches for this committee and also if we’re going to (continue to) do this,” Davis said.

The letter irritated Holbrook.

“I thought it could have been handled more diplomatically,” he said later. “That was the second time that I had gotten that complaint that this committee was spending too much money. If any of the commissioners had a real concern about it they should have stepped aside with me and visited confidentially about it. That never happened.”
Read it all here.


Douglas said…
I don't know about the wisdom of sending letters, but why would a commissioner think that other commissioners should discuss a matter of interest to taxpayers "confidentially"? For that matter why should they ever discuss business matters confidentially?

And, I guess I don't really know how "petty cash" should be handled in government agencies. If every $2 expenditure is discussed, the meetings get to be like church lady's aide business meetings. On the other hand, even $2 spent inappropriately is the kind of thing that aggravates the hell out of we taxpayers who literally don't get a free lunch.

Maybe checking such expenses should be turned over to a retired librarian wishing to make a few dollars in a green thumb program.

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