Forsyth County Employees are using credit cards like their going out of style.
An AJC analysis of Forsyth County’s credit card charges dating to 2005 shows county employees have spent tens of thousands of dollars at restaurants and gas stations with their cards.
Forsyth workers regularly whip out their p-cards at Tam’s Backstage Food & Spirits in Cumming, which is run by County Commissioner Brian Tam and his wife. Records show county employees have spent $7,238 since 2005 at the popular restaurant within walking distance from the county building.
“Even if I were not a commissioner, that restaurant would probably have a high volume of activity from county employees given that it is right next door,” Brian Tam said.
County Manager Rhonda O’Connor has spent $291 on meals at Tam’s since 2005.
“When I request that staff work through lunch, I believe it is appropriate to bring food in while we are working,” O’Connor said. “The local choice restaurant is usually based upon accessibility/delivery availability.”
County workers — men and women — also have frequented the risque Hooters restaurant chain on the county dime, paying $1,379 for meals at various locations over the past four years.
“Hooters, forget it,” said Steven Olson, director of the Center for Ethics and Corporate Responsibility at Georgia State University. “If you are asking people what is the worst thing we could do to erode the public’s trust in how we are stewarding their money, send them to a Hooters or a strip club.”
One charge for $37 at a Hooters in Baltimore landed on Fire Chief Danny Bowman’s purchasing card in 2005. Bowman said he has not set foot in Hooters and believes one of his employees made the charge without his approval during an out-of-town business event.
“Had I known that, I would have probably stated, ‘You really don’t need to go into any kind of establishment that is not generally accepted as being family-oriented,’ ” Bowman said.
Again, I’m thinking credit cards need to be taken away from Government Employees.