Earlier this month, The Courant reported that Hartford’s acting chief operating officer had charged $3,000 to a city purchasing card to help cover funeral expenses for an employee whose daughter was killed.
In a legal opinion, Corporation Counsel Saundra Kee Borges said, “… even though the Mayor did not authorize use of a P-card to pay funeral expenses, it was nevertheless inappropriate to authorize payment of funeral expenses for an employee’s family member using City money. City monies should only be used for a valid public or official purpose.”
Kee Borges said that Jose Sanchez, director of Hartford’s management and budget office, had directed an assistant to make the $3,000 payment, but that a few administrators, including Controller Leigh Ann Ralls, had authorized the transaction, which violated the city’s p-card policy.
Sanchez has agreed to reimburse the city with his own money, officials said.
All this happened as the Hartford Internal Audit Commission was investigating the matter. On Monday, the group made its findings public. Echoing Kee Borges’ opinion, auditors wrote that they could “find no valid or official public purpose in the donation of funds on behalf of an employee under these circumstances regardless of the method of payment. Therefore, all monies paid on behalf of the employee for funeral expense must be repaid to the City by one or more of the people who are responsible for authorizing the payment.”
You can read the audit report here: FinalReportCityP-CardAudit#1415