Patterson OKs credit card policy

Patterson Mayor Rodney Grogan


Mayor Rodney Grogan got most, but not all, of what he wanted regarding city credit card usage and other city employee policies Tuesday night at the monthly City Council meeting.
Grogan has told the media and the council on previous occasions, and again on Tuesday, that he wants a policy that limits credit cards to only being used to procure hotel rooms and for emergencies.
The resolution City Attorney Russel Cremaldi presented to the council allowed for the credit card to be used for any city business purpose with the approval of either of four specific city officials — the mayor, public works director, chief of police or city clerk. Cremaldi crafted the resolution on the council’s workshop discussions during which there had been no discussion of the mayor’s suggested limitations.
The resolution passed unanimously after a discussion which included comments from council members, Grogan, Cremaldi, public works director Steve Bierhorst, Police Chief Patrick LaSalle and three unidentified members of the audience.
The policy requires the cards to be kept under lock by the city clerk who would also keep a written log detailing when they are checked out and by whom. The log will specify the city business purpose for the card usage along with receipts and documentation. All purchases would have to be approved.
Councilman John Rentrop suggested the city have two cards, one of which would be for the mayor, based on a single account. Bierhorst said sometimes city employees attend separate out-of-town events and an additional card might be needed. Rentrop replied he would agree to a maximum of three cards.
Grogan said there is no need to have cards available for out-of-town trips because employees are given a per diem for their personal use and do not need a city-issued credit card to cover expenses.
Councilwoman Sandra Turner insisted on language that stipulated recourse for the city if the policy is broken.
The approved resolution stated:
—The mayor is responsible for notifying the district attorney and legislative auditor of any misappropriation of funds or assets of the municipality.
—Any employee who misuses a credit card will be subject to civil action to seek reimbursement.
—Any personal or unauthorized use of a credit card may subject an employee to discipline including immediate termination of employment.
The social media policy prohibits city employees from posting commentary, content, or images that are defamatory, pornographic, proprietary, harassing, libelous or that can create a hostile work environment.
The council spent nearly an hour discussing the use of city vehicles, both police and non-police, in a workshop Monday without coming to a clear consensus. The council unanimously agreed to discuss that policy at a later meeting.
In other matters before the council:
—Beverly Domengeaux, executive director of St. Mary Council on Aging, said she appreciated the financial support of Patterson in serving the needs of elderly citizens. She said 112 Patterson citizens were served by her agency despite a cut in state funding. Domengeaux presented a plaque of appreciation to Sharon Gillingham for her “donations, love and prayers.”
—Cremaldi was given a contract to serve as the city attorney for $500 monthly and a $175 hourly rate.
—Providence/GSE Associates was retained as the city’s engineer on a fee-based schedule.
—Grogan announced the city’s Christmas parade will be Dec. 13 with Travis Bourdier as the marshal. Bourdier was a volunteer firefighter and auxiliary police officer for Patterson when he was injured Sept. 28 in Morgan City. He suffered two broken legs after being hit by a vehicle while he was helping direct traffic from another crash. The lieutenants for the parade will be Brady and Jackie Como.

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