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Old 04-09-2008, 09:06 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by donheff View Post
I take back what I said above. I finally got to today's Washington Post and read the article that started this. It looks like GAO was studying abuses of the purchase card. These are cards used by a handful of employees to purchase stuff used by the government. The people cited appeared to have committed real fraud -- one of them is in jail. This is the "rare" catagory I mentioned. I think the article mixes things up because they say 300,000 employees have these cards -but that has to be the travel card. Real purchase cards (paid by the government) are held by a lot less people. To put these cards in perspective I only allowed two in an IT organization with a $120 M budget with 120 feds and 300 contractors. We spent millions every year using the cards - all purchases were reviewed by multiple people. I still worried about the potential for abuse. If the lady who did the primary purchasing had a gambling addiction or something she could have run up some huge bills before we could have stopped her. Sounds like some of the dick heads in the article did just that.
I read the Washington Post article also and agree it was probably 'hyped' like most stories now days, but what I found amazing was numerous references to 'fixing' the abuses by 'training' the cardholders. Other than the extreme cases where criminal charges were filed, it did not seem like anybody was in jeopardy of losing thier job. The article also stated that the cards had been in use for 8(?) yrs, but the audit was only for 15 months or so (i.e. the cost of the abuse is maybe 5-6 times what was actually measured).

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Old 04-10-2008, 07:13 AM   #22
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The purchase card program is fairly new in the federal government. I know in my former department/agency, there was quite a learning curve in using the cards. The cards were handed out without much oversight at first, then as problems arose, more oversight was initiated as the years went by. I think there were many more card users during first few years. Now, I believe there are fewer users with better oversight and more audits. My department/agency has a purchase card coordinator responsible for training and local audits and also national audits teams that also periodically do audits.

The purchase card program initially was a means of reducing costs associated with cutting purchase orders for every purchase. Purchase orders and employees needed for creating amendments, receiving reports, fiscal accounting, payments and late payments, and late payment fees all were streamlined by using the cards.

Plus the government gets that rebate check for using them.

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