Sunday, February 20, 2011

MCPS response confirms frequent purchase card rule violations

Chief of Staff Edwards and Deputy Superintendent Lacey among those implicated

Documents obtained this week by the Parents' Coalition confirm that several high-ranking MCPS officials repeatedly violated regulations by using MCPS purchase cards to pay for local restaurant meals that were not related to business travel. MCPS regulations allow employees to use the purchase cards for meal expenses incurred during out-of-state travel on official business, but not for meals and entertainment at local restaurants.

Responding to a request for details about travel and restaurant expense policies, MCPS Public Information Director Dana Tofig wrote "Board of Education (BOE) members, senior executives, and select staff have been issued purchasing cards that may be used for travel and restaurant expenses. Reference in the Purchasing Card User Guide to 'additional instructions under separate cover' pertains to travel policies and regulations approved by the BOE (enclosed)."  Tofig included a copy of MCPS Regulation DIE-RB, "Out-of_State Travel on Official Business", with his response.

Regulation DIE-RB, section D, "Subsistence", allows for reimbursement only for meal costs incurred during out-of-state travel. (A separate document, Regulation DIE-RA, governs travel within the state of Maryland and in the Washington metropolitan area. Regulation DIE-RA makes no mention of reimbursements for meal expenses.)  Purchase card expense logs obtained  by the Parents' Coalition show reimbursement claims for purchases from local restaurants by Chief of Staff Brian Edwards, Deputy Superintendent Frieda Lacey, and several other high-ranking MCPS employees.

According to Tofig, the officials authorized to use their MCPS purchase cards for out-of-state travel and restaurant expenses include the entire Board of Education, Superintendent Weast, and select high-ranking MCPS and BOE staff members.

MCPS Chief Operating Officer Larry A. Bowers determines which BOE members and MCPS employees are allowed to use their MCPS credit cards for travel and restaurant expenses, subject to the rules listed in Regulation DIE-RB.

MCPS Purchasing Card Use

1 comment:

  1. Louis, Thanks again for all the work you do to increase transparency of this 'quasi-state agency.' One thing: as Larry Bowers is a public employee who works at MCPS, he cannot determine which BOE members receive these cards. The elected BOE has the authority. That would be the elected BOE that you voted for, folks. Incumbents all re-elected. Bowers is merely a public employee.
    Paula Bienenfeld


If your comment does not appear in 24 hours, please send your comment directly to our e-mail address:
parentscoalitionmc AT