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Selectmen eye departmental debit cards

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KENT—The Board of Selectmen has decided to explore the use of departmental debit cards.

Selectman Lynn Mellis Worthington suggested during the board’s Jan. 24 meeting that department heads be issued debit cards that would allow them to draw on budgeted monies so they would not have to pay for items out of their own pockets and then wait for reimbursements. 

“I’m troubled that the town may be forcing people to spend their own money,” she said. 

But Treasurer Barbara Herbst said that any cards would have to be pre-paid because allowing employees to draw against town funds “would be asking for trouble.”

“If you want a policy where different departments have access to pre-paid cards, you need criteria as to who can use them and in what circumstances,” she said. “You would have to decide how much would be pre-loaded and what mechanism you would have to reclaim the card if it is not used properly.”

“State statute requires that a majority of the selectmen approve expenditures, so you need to develop an approval process—it’s not as easy as calling the bank and saying you want these cards,” she continued.

She added that the Board of Finance and auditor should be consulted.

Herbst explained that the town has many vendors it deals with where items can be charged against the town’s account.

“If they can’t get an item through an approved vendor, they can get purchase order or use their own money and get reimbursed,” she said.

First Selectman Marty Lindenmayer said the town can look at the suggestion and put it on the agenda for the next meeting of the Board of Selectmen.

Lindemayer announced that he hired former emergency management director Brian Hunt to return to that position. Hunt was EMD from 2012-2017 before moving from town. 

Hunt spoke to the selectmen via Zoom, saying he had already identified a couple of areas that he wants to improve.

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