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'I'm Extremely Sorry': DeKalb Commissioner on Use of County Credit Card

DeKalb County Commissioner Elaine Boyer said she intended to reimburse the county for all personal purchases she made using a county credit card.

DeKalb County Commissioner Elaine Boyer apologized Tuesday for having personal expenses on her county credit card. Credit: File|Patch
DeKalb County Commissioner Elaine Boyer apologized Tuesday for having personal expenses on her county credit card. Credit: File|Patch

DeKalb County Commissioner Elaine Boyer apologized Tuesday for allegedly misusing her county debit card for thousands of dollars of personal expenses, and said she didn’t realize the practice was prohibited.

According to a recent investigation by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Boyer used her county VISA card for non-work-related expenses that include meals, rental cars, and airline tickets to a ski resort.

Boyer, who reportedly tallied more than $12,047 in personal charges on her county-issued credit card, says she didn't realize that was prohibited. 
 
"I want to offer an extreme, heartfelt, sincere apology," Elaine Boyer told WSB TV.

Republican Boyer represents portions of District 1 in north DeKalb, including Brookhaven and Dunwoody, says Georgia Public Radio. She sometimes paid back the VISA charges within weeks or months, but more than $2,600 was still unpaid by the time the newspaper began asking for receipts. In all, the newspaper found 52 personal charges she made with the county credit card.

William Perry of the government watchdog group Common Cause said it appears Boyer used the county VISA card as an open line of credit for personal expenses.

“This isn’t something that should be used a slush fund or a line of credit. This is taxpayer dollars,” said Perry.
 
"At this point that's all I can do is say I'm sorry and it won't continue," Boyer told the TV station. "There was never any intent in my mind not to pay it back."
  
DeKalb County employees who are given purchasing cards must each sign an agreement governing its use. The document states in part, "I agree to use this card for DeKalb County approved purchases only and agree not to charge personal purchases."
 
Boyer told the TV station she has no recollection of signing such an agreement in 2010. A 2011 audit found Boyer's office deficient on receipts, but did not mention reimbursements as an issue.
 
On March 13, Boyer repaid an additional $4,083 for purchases made this year, and others the AJC questioned that she said were just sloppy accounting.
 
“I really don't have an excuse for that and so when it was brought to my attention I paid it back," said Boyer.
 
She said her own personal financial problems, which include bankruptcy and threats of foreclosure, didn't have anything to do with her use of the county credit card.
 
"I can just say that I'm extremely sorry and when I made the reimbursement and it was accepted and no one said anything, it never dawned on me that what I was doing was wrong," she said.
 
Boyer said she has called each of her fellow commissioners to apologize to them as well. But some were critical.   
 
"There is no requirement for the county to issue a p-card to any person and if you are not willing to make the commitment and follow that commitment to use the card appropriately, then at the county like any other organization the privilege should be withdrawn," said Commissioner Jeff Rader following Tuesday's commission meeting.
 
District Attorney Robert James issued a statement saying he will look into it.

Road Scholar March 29, 2014 at 09:13 AM
Keith: I do not know what you do for a living but it does not include reason or thought.
Keith March 29, 2014 at 10:30 AM
I must have personally touched a nerve with you RS. So terribly sorry to upset you to the degree that you felt the need to insinuate a poor education or at the very least a remedial employment situation. My post does have reason and thought, its just a point you fail to value. Unfortunately both parties at the county and state level are riff with incapable and corrupt leadership. This affliction is equal on both sides of the political spectrum and we can kick sand at each other all we want but until the root issues that encourage this behavior are tackled no one wins. Of course there always is the argument that people always get the elected officials they deserve, in that case we're doomed.
Road Scholar March 29, 2014 at 03:38 PM
Keith: "And the democrats are typical low life tax and spend liberals. They are more interested in having their wheel greased (Burrell Ellis) then fixing any of the growing county concerns." We can agree that both parties have trouble selecting good candidates with ethics, but the quote above did "rile" me. Since repubs have trouble also with the politicians, does that make them "typical low lifes" also ? "..more interested in having our wheel greased"? Getting our way...yes just like cons; we both whine ! Having or agreeing to take bribes? No! I am a supporter of the "No gifts, no questions, no problem "crowd concerning gifts to politicians. Insinuating a whole class of people or political activists are crooked or low lifes is wrong. If that was acceptable, lord knows what I would call people like you!
jMichael March 29, 2014 at 04:18 PM
Road Scholar: We agree on the "No gifts... " principle. But for so long as "gifts", perks, and lobbyist dollars are permissible it is my conviction that all politicians must be, by definition, corrupted on-the-take sleaze lizards. They can't get elected without being beholden to those interests.
Keith March 29, 2014 at 05:00 PM
RS, you must have only read (or zero'ed in on) half my original post. I did say at the end "Don't get me wrong both parties are utterly corrupt useless excuses". So a short answer to your question "...does that make them "typical low lifes" also ?" would be yes. Call it crazy but I refuse to believe that any one of the two parties is better that the other, both are self serving and motivated by something other than the altruistic greater good. You also seem to take the approach that if someone is against democrats then they are personally against you. That couldn’t be further from the truth, I’m sure deep down you’re a swell person (unless you hold some form of government position). I also find it interesting that you honed in on my remarks, which were a response to Vance’s blanket statements about the glory of the DNC and repugnant state of the GOP in GA. I could argue that your personal offense to my remarks, and me and my mere existence for that matter are deeply discounted or possibly even hypocrisy since you showed no equal offense to Vance’s same blanket statements regarding the entire GOP but I won’t as that’s not that important. What is important is that fine passionate folks like us get to have free and open discourse.

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