BOS considers policy on use of funds

Published 12:05 pm Wednesday, January 15, 2020

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A request to have the county pay for an invoice for a retirement dinner and gift cards for the sheriff’s office in November has spawned action by the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors (BOS) asking the county administrator to draft a policy on departmental spending.

It was during its Nov. 13 meeting that Red Oak/Wylliesburg Supervisor Kay Pierantoni questioned an invoice for payment for $1,275 and a reimbursement request for $500 for the purchase of gift cards.
According to Pierantoni the $1,275 was used for catering of a retirement party for three Sheriff’s Department employees while the gift card expense was for two $100 gift cards and one $300 gift card for those that were retiring.

Following that meeting, county staff was directed by the BOS to immediately notify all department managers and Constitutional Officers that the BOS would no longer grant reimbursement for such items.
At the request of the BOS County Administrator Daniel “Dan” Witt presented a draft copy   for the use of county funds for employee celebrations during its Jan. 8 meeting.

The policy cites, “It is the policy of the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors that no county funds shall be spent on gifts for employees, for employee parties, for holiday parties or for employee celebrations. Exceptions to this policy are: framed resolutions or certificates approved and issued by the Board of Supervisors; refreshments purchased for required or sanctioned county training and seminars.”

“I ask that you look at this and not make a decision today. I think you need to look at this more,” said Witt.

Witt further said, “from my past experience in another locality, if someone from the board or a parent or a child of someone that is an employee of the county had a death in the family, we had a fund that we could send flowers to that person. And in talking to my staff, I know they haven’t done that in a while. And, I think it’s just being human to do something like that … I think that the board needs to look at this more holistic.”

The BOS did not make a final decision on the policy; rather, Chairman Garland “Butch” Hamlett Jr. requested that the personnel committee study the policy and come back to the boards February meeting with a recommendation.

Vice chairman Gary Walker pointed out he felt that when an employee “puts in their time,” they deserved more than just a resolution and a pat on the back.

Supervisor Pierantoni said citizens in her district were opposed to spending county funds for gifts and parties.

In Witt’s research to find out what other localities policies were on spending county funds on office and retirement parties he noted in his draft policy email exchanges between county administrators in Mecklenburg, Lunenburg, Buckingham, Prince Edward and Appomattox.

In all five localities, no county funds are used for retirement dinners or office parties.