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Montgomery County Inspector General Zeroes In On County Credit Cards

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The Maryland county's inspector general says he plans to take a closer look at how county entities are using credit cards.
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The Maryland county's inspector general says he plans to take a closer look at how county entities are using credit cards.

The Montgomery County inspector general released his annual report to the county council today. But it's what he'll be looking at next year that has council members most intrigued.

Edward Blansitt says his office will look at publicly funded credit cards that are issued to elected and nonelected county officials. Those cards can be used to pay for anything from office supplies to conference travel expenses.

"We are going to look at all the county entities' procedures and practices for use of purchase cards. We're not going to start with any specific entity," Blansitt says.

The cards have made headlines recently after board of education member Christopher Barclay admitted to using his for personal expenses, for which he later apologized. Barclay repaid the board, but the controversy torpedoed his campaign for a council seat.

Current Council President Craig Rice believes the credit cards should be eliminated, referring to his time working for Marriott before being elected. "They're pretty much nonexistent in a global corporation because technology has advanced so much. If you need something immediately from Staples, you go online, type in your account number and it's sent to you."

The Board of Education has already started the process of limiting what expenses can be paid for by the cards, including restrictions on travel spending.

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