Richland County Council members may be ready to cut up their public credit cards.
On Feb. 23, a council committee approved a measure that would take take away taxpayer funded purchase cards from appointed and elected officials. That includes council members.
This week, the full council will consider the measure and could finalize that proposal.
So called “p-cards” are at the center of a scandal that led to criminal charges against a now-former council member and her removal from office.
In December, state prosecutors accused councilwoman Dalhi Meyers with using her P-card between 2018 and 2019 for extravagant purchases, including a trip Greece and other places, a stay in a resort hotel and premium chocolates. The grand jury indicted her on 24 charges. Most of the charges related to allegations that she used public money on personal expenses.
Myers’ indictments followed an investigation by The State Media Co. last year that revealed the potential misuse of her county credit card.
At a hearing for Myers, a prosecutor said Richland County “tolerates” many questionable spending decisions. Its council members function almost like medieval lords in a fiefdom system, he said.
County Adminstrator Leonard Brown has suggested council get rid of their personal cards. At the recommendation of county staff, a committee of council members approved the p-cards going to a trained person in each county department. Elected and appointed officials will have to request purchases from that designated person.
The committee also approved creating of new guidelines for what can be purchased and making “remedies and responsibilities to prevent inappropriate purchasing card activity.”
Council will take up the measure Tuesday, March 2.