Pr. George's Co. Exec: School Board Should Consider Tossing Credit Cards - NBC4 Washington
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Pr. George's Co. Exec: School Board Should Consider Tossing Credit Cards

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    The executive of Prince George's County said Friday the county school board should consider tossing their taxpayer-funded credit cards, after the News4 I-Team revealed that a few board members had spent thousands of dollars on pricey restaurant meals. (Published Friday, Oct. 17, 2014)

    The executive of Prince George's County said Friday the county school board should consider tossing their taxpayer-funded credit cards, after the News4 I-Team revealed that a few board members had spent thousands of dollars on pricey restaurant meals.

    Rushern Baker says he wants the school board to review its ethics rules and consider getting rid of these taxpayer-funded, government-issued credit cards.

    "I was very disturbed," Baker said. "We thought we thought we'd gone past this."

    "I think it's a wake up call for the school board," Baker added.

    After the I-Team's investigation, the district asked its auditor to review credit card policies to increase fiscal accountability. The review expected to be complete within a few weeks.

    The I-Team investigation found that Prince George’s County school board members had spent several thousand dollars on more than 120 meals at restaurants near school district headquarters at taxpayers' expense over the last 18 months.

    Those meals included room service breakfasts, and dozens of lunches and dinners, some within close range of home and the board offices.

    According to the I-Team's review of expense receipts, many of the meals were purchased by two of the 14 board members: Carolyn Boston and Verjeana Jacobs.

    Those members swiped their cards for dozens of restaurant lunches and dinners while meeting with other board members, local leaders or each other.

    The two defended their expenses as important and allowable.

    When asked why they meet with each other to eat -- sometimes close to the office -- Jacobs replied, "We also meet with constituents and board members from other areas."

    Said Boston: "When we meet together to talk about issues or things that're going on with the board, I think that's appropriate."

    The district says under current rules, all those meals are allowed.

    Baker is not the only elected official who has expressed concerns about the spending.

    Del. Alonzo Washington, D-Hyattsville, said earlier this month that he’ll consider introducing legislation in January to prohibit the district from issuing credit cards to its board members.