BOS cuts off funding for parties

Published 2:32 pm Wednesday, February 12, 2020

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The Charlotte County Board of Supervisors (BOS) voted 6 to 1 Monday, Feb. 10, to enact a policy guiding the use of county funds for employee celebrations.

Vice-Chairman Gary Walker, who represents the County Seat District, cast the only no vote.

A request to have the county pay for an invoice for a retirement dinner and gift cards for the sheriff’s office in November spawned action by the 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.

The policy reads, “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.”

Following the meeting, Vice-Chairman 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.

“We have many good, hard-working people, mostly making less than they deserve for many years and I think a decent gift is the least we should do for them when they retire. By we, I mean the citizens of Charlotte, and I think most of them would agree with me,” Walker said.

In County Administrator Daniel “Dan” Witt’s research to find out what other localities policies were on spending county funds on office and retirement parties, he noted 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.