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(Omaha World Herald)   School district superintendent who bought wine and schnapps with his company credit card assures the public he did so inadvertently and just grabbed the wrong credit card   (omaha.com) divider line 46
    More: Dumbass, school districts, credit cards, superintendent, petty cashes, Grand Island  
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1990 clicks; posted to Main » on 24 Aug 2013 at 2:08 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-08-24 02:10:56 PM
Slow news day, huh?
 
2013-08-24 02:10:58 PM
It's possible.  I filled up my car with the company card more than once.
Gets caught in the monthly review, I pay the company back.  No big deal.

The problem here is that the school district wasn't reviewing bills every month, line by line.
 
2013-08-24 02:12:23 PM
Sounds legit.

No, seriously, it sounds legit. People grab the wrong card all the time. Probably happens thousands of times per day.

/legit
 
2013-08-24 02:14:46 PM
Make them pay the bill, give them a slap on the wrist.

Then watch their bills closely for a few months without telling them. If the situation repeats then can them.

DNRTFA, but I assume everyone way overreacted as usual?
 
GBB
2013-08-24 02:14:52 PM
This is why credit cards associated with government functions should be labeled "For Official Use Only", so that there is the possibility that someone in the transaction will notice and inquire about it.
 
2013-08-24 02:15:09 PM
I've done it on trips.  I get so used to pulling out my business credit card when traveling, I don't even look.
 
2013-08-24 02:16:08 PM
One purchase under a couple hundred in which he tacked on a significant tip by itself over the automatic gratuity is not some great controversy; he paid this back, after being brought to his attention, of course, and will be undoubtedly be more attentive.
 
2013-08-24 02:18:06 PM
so it's come to this, some clown charged some booze to the company card. the world is falling apart. who farking could possibly care?
/once and a while I forget to take the bic stick pen out of my pocket when I leave work. then don't bother to bring it back. yet after 25 years the company manages to soldier on despite my larceny
 
2013-08-24 02:18:07 PM
"...superintendent who bought wine and schnapps with his company credit card..."

 encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com  "Oh, sh*t!"
 
GCD
2013-08-24 02:18:30 PM
Nothing to see here folks. Move along. Seriously. This has got to be one of the biggest non-news stories ever.
 
2013-08-24 02:19:25 PM

FrancoFile: It's possible.  I filled up my car with the company card more than once.
Gets caught in the monthly review, I pay the company back.  No big deal.

The problem here is that the school district wasn't reviewing bills every month, line by line.


This.
 
2013-08-24 02:20:11 PM
This happens all the time. Why is it suddenly newsworthy?

Oh. Nebraska. Nevermind.
 
2013-08-24 02:21:58 PM
The outrage shouldn't be that he made the common error of accidentally charging something to the company card, it is that he was buying  peach schnapps and Beringer chardonnay.

That just shows poor taste. Order real booze or a beer, man.
 
2013-08-24 02:26:26 PM
It's not news, it's something else.
 
2013-08-24 02:31:01 PM
Picked up the check, good tipper, sounds like a righteous dude. I'd throw a couple back with him anytime.
 
2013-08-24 02:32:03 PM

FrancoFile: It's possible.  I filled up my car with the company card more than once.
Gets caught in the monthly review, I pay the company back.  No big deal.

The problem here is that the school district wasn't reviewing bills every month, line by line.


Seriously.  I'm so used to business travel that I've payed for personal dinners with my company card once or twice.  It didn't take more than a month to get noticed, and I work for a company with thousands of employees who have corporate cards.  There couldn't possibly be so many corporate cards issued by this school district that line-item review would be time-consuming or expensive.  I doubt it even really needs to happen monthly.  Quarterly would be fine.
 
2013-08-24 02:35:43 PM
Oh good grief, i watched my bf try to buy a carton of cigarettes with his library card once, hilarious!! No story as long as long as it was an isolated incident.
 
2013-08-24 02:35:56 PM

darwinpolice: I doubt it even really needs to happen monthly.  Quarterly would be fine.


I'd say a monthly review would be warranted just to spot outright fraud. You only have a limited time period to notify your CC company about that and not be responsible for the debt, and it's probably 60 days or something which is less than a quarter.
 
2013-08-24 02:38:41 PM
So, I'm willing to believe that one time he grabbed the wrong card. Article says it was only one time. However, a school superintendent can't tell the tip has been added automatically? Fire him just for that. Next question.
 
2013-08-24 02:40:12 PM
It happens.  Really, non-story.
 
2013-08-24 02:47:56 PM
About half the time I use a credit card, it's the company card.  The other half the time, it's my personal card.  It's easy to accidentally use the wrong one, I've made the mistake both ways.
 
2013-08-24 02:49:51 PM

ramblinwreck: It happens.  Really, non-story.


Yeah I read the article, glad to see this wasn't a big deal. Now if in that 10 month audit it would have happened 20 times, we might have an issue.

I used my company card for a couple of days once by accident (same bank card, only my name on it). Once I realized my bank account wasnt going down I told HR what was going on and it was no big deal. Apparently it happened pretty regularly since we were dumb enough to not have the company name on the cards.

/glad it wasn't for hookers and blow
//that week
 
2013-08-24 02:51:07 PM

2chris2: About half the time I use a credit card, it's the company card.  The other half the time, it's my personal card.  It's easy to accidentally use the wrong one, I've made the mistake both ways.


this too

/put a black stripe on the company card after awhile
 
2013-08-24 02:59:49 PM
I used to do expense reporting for a corporation that issued company credit cards.  My job was to go line by line, expense by expense.  If an expense was more than $25 I had to send an email asking for an explanation, and when that email was answered, I had to attach it to the expense report.  The IRS even had guidelines that I had to enforce, even though some corporate people with the terms "Regional Director" or anything with the words "Vice President" thought they were above IRS guidelines.  As for alcohol, the rule was very clear: No.  Expenses that were not to be paid by us, I had to send an email to that person, CC their boss on it, and explain to them why we weren't covering said expense.

When it was a legit "Oops, I didn't mean to do that." I would either receive an email or phone call about it and I'd mark it as non-reimbursable and remind that person that it was up to them to pay it out of pocket.  In December it's mostly "I bought a gift for my spouse and I used the company credit card to pay for it so my spouse won't see the credit card bill and see where I bought their gift from, I'll pay this myself, don't worry." and most of the time it's already marked non-reimbursable.

By having me go line by line in all the expense reports and question every expense and deny alcohol purchases and other questionable purchases, the company actually SAVED money instead of wasting it blindly on stupid shiat like this.  Yeah, there were people who were pissed that their cards were declined because we refused to cover a $500 personal expense, and the interest racked up and hit their own personal credit score, but they read the company and IRS guidelines about the company credit card and signed it, so I never gave them any sympathy.

Some of the weirdest things was one district manager would buy lingerie on the company credit card and then yell at me and ask "Do you know who I am?" when I'd mark it non-reimbursable.  Found out one district manager was having an affair with a store employee and used the company credit card to pay for the hotel room (found the hotel room expense, found on the receipt the two names, looked up who the other name was in the company directory, found that she was a store employee in his district and that the room wasn't a conference room but a regular over night hotel room, investigation started and soon after the district manager was fired as was the store employee.  I would have loved to know how that was explained to the former District manager's wife).  One District manager would take his corporate credit card, buy merchandise at Target, then put it one the shelves at his store at a lower price (I tried to explain to him how that wasn't really profitable).  Some people managed to eat entirely on their corporate credit cards and justify the expense.  I had one meeting with the corporate treasurer where I brought it up and said that we might have a better year, profit wise, if we ended this "If a District Manager works past seven he can expense his dinner." rule.  I said "No one has ever said 'I was going to fast tonight, but since I am working, I might as well eat'.  These people know they are going to be working late, they should plan accordingly.  The people who close the stores at night aren't allowed to expense their dinners and they don't starve."  I was then told that I was extremely wrong.  I wasn't there much longer.  The companytreasurer didn't like a lot of what I said.  He wanted to do something and my answer was "I've been in this job for several years and I know that what you want is good on paper, but in practice isn't going to work."
 
2013-08-24 03:18:00 PM

Great Janitor: I used to do expense reporting for a corporation that issued company credit cards.  My job was to go line by line, expense by expense.  If an expense was more than $25 I had to send an email asking for an explanation, and when that email was answered, I had to attach it to the expense report.  The IRS even had guidelines that I had to enforce, even though some corporate people with the terms "Regional Director" or anything with the words "Vice President" thought they were above IRS guidelines.  As for alcohol, the rule was very clear: No.  Expenses that were not to be paid by us, I had to send an email to that person, CC their boss on it, and explain to them why we weren't covering said expense.

When it was a legit "Oops, I didn't mean to do that." I would either receive an email or phone call about it and I'd mark it as non-reimbursable and remind that person that it was up to them to pay it out of pocket.  In December it's mostly "I bought a gift for my spouse and I used the company credit card to pay for it so my spouse won't see the credit card bill and see where I bought their gift from, I'll pay this myself, don't worry." and most of the time it's already marked non-reimbursable.

By having me go line by line in all the expense reports and question every expense and deny alcohol purchases and other questionable purchases, the company actually SAVED money instead of wasting it blindly on stupid shiat like this.  Yeah, there were people who were pissed that their cards were declined because we refused to cover a $500 personal expense, and the interest racked up and hit their own personal credit score, but they read the company and IRS guidelines about the company credit card and signed it, so I never gave them any sympathy.

Some of the weirdest things was one district manager would buy lingerie on the company credit card and then yell at me and ask "Do you know who I am?" when I'd mark it non-reimbursable.  Found out one district manager was having an affair with a store employee and used the company credit card to pay for the hotel room (found the hotel room expense, found on the receipt the two names, looked up who the other name was in the company directory, found that she was a store employee in his district and that the room wasn't a conference room but a regular over night hotel room, investigation started and soon after the district manager was fired as was the store employee.  I would have loved to know how that was explained to the former District manager's wife).  One District manager would take his corporate credit card, buy merchandise at Target, then put it one the shelves at his store at a lower price (I tried to explain to him how that wasn't really profitable).  Some people managed to eat entirely on their corporate credit cards and justify the expense.  I had one meeting with the corporate treasurer where I brought it up and said that we might have a better year, profit wise, if we ended this "If a District Manager works past seven he can expense his dinner." rule.  I said "No one has ever said 'I was going to fast tonight, but since I am working, I might as well eat'.  These people know they are going to be working late, they should plan accordingly.  The people who close the stores at night aren't allowed to expense their dinners and they don't starve."  I was then told that I was extremely wrong.  I wasn't there much longer.  The companytreasurer didn't like a lot of what I said.  He wanted to do something and my answer was "I've been in this job for several years and I know that what you want is good on paper, but in practice isn't going to work."


Jesus Christ, you need to get laid.
 
2013-08-24 03:22:52 PM
If it was a one time thing, I can see that being an honest mistake.  If it was a weekly purchase, he should be fired for either fraud or incompetence.
 
2013-08-24 03:39:04 PM
"Uttecht said he reimbursed the district...."

Do an audit of his expense account for the previous 3-6 months, monitor his expenses for the next 3-6 months.  If nothing shows up then it was a mistake.
 
2013-08-24 03:42:47 PM
Stupid Story Time:  I was one on business for two months in Europe (two 1-month trips, with 2 weeks in between).  After the trip I turned in my expense report and got a call from the secretary of the department that there was a mistake.  When I went to her desk she pointed out the mistake, I had put $0.7 instead of $0.70 on the spreadsheet.  She then lectured me for a couple minutes about how that will mess up the numbers!
 
2013-08-24 03:42:56 PM
... and on the oppsite side of the scale from Great Janitor is where I used to work during the late '90s dot-bomb era, a now-defunct, formerly well-known medical reference/advice website.

Financial controls at that corp were not very good.  All the senior management and operations types were in North America, all the financial types were in Bermuda (the "headquarters" technically, for tax purposes).  Every expense report went to straight to the CFO in Bermuda; didn't even have to be reviewed and approved by your direct superior.  Of course the CFO and his staff had zero idea of what expenses were legitimate and which were illegitimate, so literally everything got approved.  One of the sales/marketing types I worked with, whose client was a major European pharmaceutical conglomerate, used to expense his personal car lease--on the laughable premise that he needed that car to visit his big pharma client.  Apparently the CFO never clued in that you can't drive from the east coast to central Europe.

Anyway the tl:dr version is that this website burned through several million a month, and was tits-up within a year and a half.  Not having good expense controls can kill you, if the only thing bringing in money is clicks on banner ads.
 
2013-08-24 03:51:41 PM

Mock26: Stupid Story Time:  I was one on business for two months in Europe (two 1-month trips, with 2 weeks in between).  After the trip I turned in my expense report and got a call from the secretary of the department that there was a mistake.  When I went to her desk she pointed out the mistake, I had put $0.7 instead of $0.70 on the spreadsheet.  She then lectured me for a couple minutes about how that will mess up the numbers!


Uhhhh, doesn't any spreadsheet program automatically lop off the trailing 0 to the right of the decimal in that case? I know Excel does.
 
2013-08-24 04:02:02 PM

GBB: This is why credit cards associated with government functions should be labeled "For Official Use Only", so that there is the possibility that someone in the transaction will notice and inquire about it.


Ha ha no.  I haven't signed a credit card or a debit card in years.  I don't even write "PLEASE CJECK ID".  It's just blank.  I've had maybe two people point this out.  writing shiat on the card won't do a thing.  Auditing purchasing card use and flagging/punishing misuse is the solution.
 
2013-08-24 04:02:59 PM

HisBoyLeroy: Picked up the check, good tipper, sounds like a righteous dude. I'd throw a couple back with him anytime.


Enjoy your frosty glass of schnapps.
 
2013-08-24 04:03:55 PM

BSABSVR: PLEASE CHECK ID"

 
2013-08-24 04:51:17 PM
Happens all the time my ass, what happens is you didn't have the money so you used a company card and figured you would claim it was a "simple mistake" if anyone caught it. You have to be a complete idiot if you cant tell the two cards apart. If they're that similar, take a damn sharpie and place a big X on the company card so you can tell which is which.

Carried two separate government issued Visa cards while I was in the military and never once did I even come close to "accidentally" using one for personal expenses, never even started pulling one out of my wallet and wen't woops, wrong one.
 
2013-08-24 05:11:43 PM

FrancoFile: It's possible.  I filled up my car with the company card more than once.
Gets caught in the monthly review, I pay the company back.  No big deal.

The problem here is that the school district wasn't reviewing bills every month, line by line.


I've done it myself, you reflex grab your card and swipe it before you realize you have the wrong one.

Also that time when I was out of cash and needed to buy gas, that was recorded as an oops.
 
2013-08-24 05:54:04 PM
This is news because it's now one more thing the anti-education/anti-government crowd can point to when they are talking about the waste and tyranny in the public school system.
 
2013-08-24 05:55:47 PM

austin_millbarge: Sounds legit.

No, seriously, it sounds legit. People grab the wrong card all the time. Probably happens thousands of times per day.

/legit


I've done it by accident a couple of times on trips before I became a contractor.
 
2013-08-24 06:34:37 PM

ReapTheChaos: Happens all the time my ass, what happens is you didn't have the money so you used a company card and figured you would claim it was a "simple mistake" if anyone caught it. You have to be a complete idiot if you cant tell the two cards apart. If they're that similar, take a damn sharpie and place a big X on the company card so you can tell which is which.

Carried two separate government issued Visa cards while I was in the military and never once did I even come close to "accidentally" using one for personal expenses, never even started pulling one out of my wallet and wen't woops, wrong one.


It was early in the morning, I was tired, and I was running work errands on the way in.  Probably stopped at 3 places to buy supplies with the company card, and gassed up my car in the midst of it.  Honest mistake.
 
2013-08-24 06:40:09 PM

Mock26: Do an audit of his expense account for the previous 3-6 months, monitor his expenses for the next 3-6 months. If nothing shows up then it was a mistake.


Stop it with your calm and rational thought.  A school district was involved.  That is expressly forbidden by the 3rd or 8th Amendment, or one of those... one of the ones nobody ever reads.

Two mechanisms I've heard of to prevent this kind of "accidental" use have been to require that all "corporate accounts" (also includes government accounts) would require a 6- or 7-digit pin when used, to prevent the possibility that someone could grab the wrong one and still use it.
That would leave hotels and restaurants as common signing-only places, but that could be alleviated by a special line above and below the signature printed on the receipt, such as:
**************************************************************
LOCAL SCHOOL DISTRICT OFFICIAL TRANSACTION
**************************************************************
For most normal people though, the different color, a different placement in the wallet, and the big words "GOVERNMENT TRAVEL" or "[YOUR COMPANY NAME]" on the card are clue enough.
The rest are too stupid to be in that position of responsibility, but I'm willing to give them a chance to not out themselves so easily.
 
2013-08-24 06:47:48 PM

FrancoFile: It was early in the morning, I was tired, and I was running work errands on the way in. Probably stopped at 3 places to buy supplies with the company card, and gassed up my car in the midst of it. Honest mistake.


For a while, my GTC was the same color as my USAA credit card (not debit card).  My personal CC even had my branch of service logo on it in the top center.
Fortunately, the mistake was usually using my personal card for re-imbursable expenses and having to deal with paying one more company for something like rental car gas during a trip.
But I can see where someone who was constantly on travel could have to stop and figure out if the transaction belongs to the government or not.
Then there's people like my brother in law who decided that the GTC would be a great way to get a cash advance to get chips for a Craps table at the Mirage in Vegas.  But he's an idiot.
 
2013-08-24 07:55:30 PM

Thurston Howell: ... and on the oppsite side of the scale from Great Janitor is where I used to work during the late '90s dot-bomb era, a now-defunct, formerly well-known medical reference/advice website.

Financial controls at that corp were not very good.  All the senior management and operations types were in North America, all the financial types were in Bermuda (the "headquarters" technically, for tax purposes).  Every expense report went to straight to the CFO in Bermuda; didn't even have to be reviewed and approved by your direct superior.  Of course the CFO and his staff had zero idea of what expenses were legitimate and which were illegitimate, so literally everything got approved.  One of the sales/marketing types I worked with, whose client was a major European pharmaceutical conglomerate, used to expense his personal car lease--on the laughable premise that he needed that car to visit his big pharma client.  Apparently the CFO never clued in that you can't drive from the east coast to central Europe.

Anyway the tl:dr version is that this website burned through several million a month, and was tits-up within a year and a half.  Not having good expense controls can kill you, if the only thing bringing in money is clicks on banner ads.


I only did expense reporting in one company, and the people who audited our company required us to examine every line entry in an expense report.  It was up to me to research any expense that wasn't explained by the submitter.  If the auditors found something that I had missed or over looked the company was fined.  When I started looking for another job because the job was shifting towards having me take the shiat of the expense report submitters because they didn't like being questioned about every expense, I looked, briefly, at other expense reporting work and they were all surprised that I examined every line entry of an expense report before approving it.  It also was probably the reason why I wasn't hired on to do expense reporting at another company.  If the person who is doing the hiring likes to submit shady expense reports and get fully paid, he's not going to hire someone who's experience with expense reporting is to go line by line and question and demand explanations, receipts and proof.
 
2013-08-24 08:37:38 PM
Going in the other direction, I have had to point out several times to my superior that he was about to accidentally use his personal debit card instead of the company credit card for corporate purchases which would be much more expensive than he would ever want to personally pay for (he's not THAT much of a company-man).

Granted, as long as he had the money in his checking account, he could bill our employer and get the money back, but what a headache of a mistake to make.
 
2013-08-24 09:25:32 PM

Great Janitor: I only did expense reporting in one company, and the people who audited our company required us to examine every line entry in an expense report.  It was up to me to research any expense that wasn't explained by the submitter.  If the auditors found something that I had missed or over looked the company was fined.  When I started looking for another job because the job was shifting towards having me take the shiat of the expense report submitters because they didn't like being questioned about every expense, I looked, briefly, at other expense reporting work and they were all surprised that I examined every line entry of an expense report before approving it.  It also was probably the reason why I wasn't hired on to do expe ...


I am surprised too, but only because that is generally the sort of thing the line managers do.  Only they have a good idea of what's valid and what's not for their own staff.  I wouldn't want the accounting guys spending their time chasing down expense reports from all over the firm; that's ... not a good use of their highly specialised time (as I am sure you will agree!).  Everywhere I've worked (and at every level of the chain, from the mighty to the lowly), your boss line-item checks your expenses and signs off before you get to submit them.  That's how it ought to be.
 
2013-08-24 10:39:42 PM

buckeyebrain: Mock26: Stupid Story Time:  I was one on business for two months in Europe (two 1-month trips, with 2 weeks in between).  After the trip I turned in my expense report and got a call from the secretary of the department that there was a mistake.  When I went to her desk she pointed out the mistake, I had put $0.7 instead of $0.70 on the spreadsheet.  She then lectured me for a couple minutes about how that will mess up the numbers!

Uhhhh, doesn't any spreadsheet program automatically lop off the trailing 0 to the right of the decimal in that case? I know Excel does.


Yep.  But because I did not set the cells to show 2 decimal places it would have resulted in the numbers possibly not adding up correctly!  I kid you not.  That is what she claimed would happen!  Like I said, "stupid story time."  And she was the stupid part.
 
2013-08-25 02:12:25 AM

austin_millbarge: Sounds legit.

No, seriously, it sounds legit. People grab the wrong card all the time. Probably happens thousands of times per day.

/legit


Yeah, no shiat, not sure why subby thinks this would never happen IRL. Same with the tip. Occasionally when I waited tables, people would leave a tip on top of the auto gratuity, something that was obviously not just added to the auto-gratuity.

Sad part? I read the headline to my wife(she works for a University), she said the other lady in her office did this just last week. My wife said that if they mention anything, the department credit card will get yanked for "misuse", even if the person who made the charge is the one who brings it to the University's attention and immediately fixes the issue. Sure, this means that she gets this purchase for free, but it's absolutely ridiculous that making a mistake and fixing it(one such mistake in 20 years, BTW), is viewed the same way as actual fraud.

Maybe subby runs the University in question?
 
2013-08-25 03:13:43 AM

mygirlsaysno: So, I'm willing to believe that one time he grabbed the wrong card. Article says it was only one time. However, a school superintendent can't tell the tip has been added automatically? Fire him just for that. Next question.


Plenty of people just grab the bill and add a tip, especially if they're in the middle of a conversation. It doesn't say that he audited the bill. I used to see people in between words grab the check presenter, glance at just the total, make a quick calculation in their head, add the tip, and sign the CC receipt, all without missing a beat.

Add I alcohol, and it's even easier to miss the auto-gratuity.
 
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