County board will consider improvements to internal financial policies

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Just days after former county manager Wanda Greene and her son were indicted on federal charges related to the misuse of public funds, the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners will consider an overhaul on Tuesday, April 10, of the county’s financial accountability policies.

According to supplemental documents posted with the board’s April 10 agenda, commissioners will consider brand-new policies related to gift cards and meals at meetings, as well as changes to the county’s travel and procurement card (or P-card) policies.

The indictment released on April 5 alleges that Greene and her son, Michael Greene, used their own county P-cards, as well as P-cards belonging to Wanda Greene’s subordinates, to make about $200,000 worth of improper purchases. In Wanda Greene’s case, this included the purchase of thousands of dollars worth of gift cards.

This will be the board’s first regular meeting since March 6.

The county’s proposed gift card policy states that gift cards should not be purchased for or given to any employee or provided as payment for goods or services. The policy also limits the use of gift cards to specific functions under the Health and Human Services and Soil and Water Conservation departments, as well as the Sustainability Office and the Buncombe County Service Foundation.

Usage of gift cards outside the specific parameters outlined for those offices is not allowed without authorization from the Buncombe County Board of Commissioners.

The revised P-card policy sets limits on transactions through a newly devised tier system, with tier one having a monthly limit of $1,000 and tier four allowing for purchases greater than $10,000. Monthly limits greater than $10,000, however, would have to be requested in writing by a department director and approved by the finance director and the county manager or assistant county manager.

TIERING UP: A screenshot of the county’s revised procurement card policy. One of the proposed revisions to the policy involves setting limits on spending through a system of tiers. Courtesy of Buncombe County
TIERING UP: The county’s revised procurement card policy would set limits on spending through a system of tiers. Document provided by Buncombe County

The revised P-card policy also requires that cardholders and employees who verify P-card transactions receive training from the Finance Department before carrying out these duties. Those employees must also receive recurring training in order to continue using their P-cards. The revised policy also adds gift cards to the list of unauthorized P-card uses.

Choosing an auditor

Commissioners are poised to confirm the selection of CliftonLarsonAllen LLP as the firm in charge of the county’s fiscal year 2018 audit. According to a contract posted on the county’s website, the audit would cost Buncombe County $118,125.

The Gould Killian CPA Group conducted the county’s fiscal year 2017 audit and gave the county’s finances a clean bill of health, a judgement that sparked some debate in light of the federal investigation into Wanda Greene.

“The scope of the audit — what we hired our external auditors to do — was to audit the accuracy of our financial statements,” explained county finance director Tim Flora during a meeting of the board in January. “These are accurate and have always been accurate to the best of our knowledge. The auditor does not make a determination of whether fraud has occurred — rather, whether there have been unreasonable misstatements in the financial statements. There are none. That’s all a clean audit means.”

In other business

Commissioners will also hear a presentation from the N.C. Department of Transportation about the replacement of the Interstate 26 bridge over the French Broad River.

Additionally, the board will conduct a public hearing on the issuance of about $27 million in loan funds from the Public Finance Authority, an entity that exists under the laws of the state of Wisconsin, to IC Imagine Holdings, a North Carolina limited liability company. IC Imagine, which presently operates a K-12 public charter school at 1000 Brevard Road near the Asheville Outlets, plans to use the debt to finance the acquisition of a 47.5-acre site located on McIntosh Road in Asheville and the construction and furnishing of a three-story, 115,000-square-foot school facility.

The Buncombe County Board of Commissioners will meet at 5 p.m. on April 10 at 200 College St. in Asheville in room 326. The full meeting agenda and supporting documents can be found here.

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About David Floyd
David Floyd is the Buncombe County reporter for the Mountain Xpress. He previously worked as a general-assignment reporter for the Johnson City Press. Email him at dfloyd@mountainx.com.

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One thought on “County board will consider improvements to internal financial policies

  1. Enlightened Enigma

    see the agenda where they are STEALING $4.2 MILLION from the taxpayers to GIVE to the heinous evil Housing Authority of Asheville, without any citizen vote. this is in addition to City Council doing the same for a total of $8.4 MILLION to the biggest problem in Asheville … it’s an OUTRAGE.

    the county commissioners and city council and mayor are elected CRIMINALS.

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