EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a press release from Madison County Treasurer Kurt Prenzler.
EDWARDSVILLE — Madison County Treasurer Kurt Prenzler believes there is a culture of credit card abuse by public officials and stricter policies are needed.
“The improper use of credit cards is becoming all too familiar,” Prenzler said. “It’s an issue we have in our county government.”
Prenzler said the most recent incident to make the news was at Pontoon Beach Water District. He said records show its former manager misused a credit card to make personal purchases and the case is now under investigation by the FBI.
“This isn’t an isolated incident,” he said. “This year we’ve heard about officials using government-issued credit cards to make personal purchases in Collinsville and East St. Louis. It’s unfortunate that happens in the first place.”
He said there are officials — elected, appointed or those employed in the public sector with fiduciary responsibilities — who feel they can spend public funds any way they wish.
“It isn’t enough for someone to say they paid it back,” Prenzler said. “They should know better than to use it in the first place.”
Prenzler said he pointed out earlier this year Madison County Board Chairman Alan Dunstan used his county-issued credit card to make more than a dozen unauthorized personal purchases. The chairman claimed “no county funds were expended to cover non-reimbursable expenses.”
“What does that even mean?” Prenzler asked. “Yes, the chairman had to pay back the money, but why didn’t he use his own credit card in the first place?”
The purchases were reportedly for county-related business.
“I don’t believe that,” Prenzler said. “Why else would he have paid back the charges he made at Kohl’s and a Troy meat market? From what I’ve seen, the chairman is the only one who’s made personal purchases on his county-issued credit card.”
Prenzler said doesn’t have a county-issued credit card.
“Like other county employees, I am required go through the purchasing department to buy items for my office and submit receipts for reimbursement for any travel-related expenses,” he said. “I plan to keep it that way.”