At the recommendation of the city’s internal audit commission, Mayor Pedro Segarra on Monday said he would ban the use of all city-issued credit cards for business-related entertainment.
The audit commission, after reviewing more than 400 purchases made with city-issued credit cards, recommended in a report released Friday that officials provide better oversight and enforcement of spending policies, and urged a ban on use of the cards for dining and entertainment.
“In accordance with the recommendation by the internal auditors, I am eliminating the use of any and all [purchasing] cards for ‘business entertainment,’” Segarra said in a prepared statement Monday. “The finance department will remove all applicable merchant category codes for dining and restaurants effective immediately.”
Segarra said he supports the audit and looks forward to working with the finance department, the audit commission and others to implement changes and improve oversight.
“I have always tried to do what is right for Hartford including investing in arts, education and economic development opportunities that have improved the overall quality of life in our city,” Segarra said. “I want the people of Hartford to know that I am out there on their behalf every single day and will continue to be in the months and years ahead.”
Segarra’s chief of staff, Jared Kupiec, said Monday that he would reimburse the city $457.21 for a New Year’s Eve dinner charged to his city credit card (for $707) that has drawn criticism. Segarra has said he reimbursed a portion of that dinner as well.
The charge stemmed from a dinner for eight people, Segarra has said, including himself; his spouse; Kupiec; a female guest of Kupiec’s; Chief Operating Officer Saundra Kee Borges; two members of the Hartford Police Department who were providing security for the mayor that evening; and an eighth person whom he could not recall. The meal was put on a city purchasing card because the group was working at First Night in Hartford, he said.
“Over the last few weeks much has been made about a New Year’s Eve dinner that was partially paid for with my city of Hartford purchasing card,” Kupiec said, also in a prepared statement. “Because of the distraction that it has caused, and after speaking with the mayor, I will be immediately reimbursing the city of Hartford in the amount of $457.21.
“There are too many other more significant matters that leadership in the capital city needs to focus its attention on. Those in public service should and need to be held to a high standard and I truly apologize to city staff, residents and anyone else who has been unfairly consumed with this issue.”