A newspaper’s investigation shows some members of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors spent lavishly using publicly financed county-issued credit cards.
The Arizona Republic reported Monday that supervisors spent money on gifts for constituents and employees, trips, luxury hotels and catered meals.
Supervisor Fulton Brock was the biggest spender, racking up $64,344 in charges.
Brock spent $4,300 on ads celebrating Flag Day, and promoting hazardous waste collection and other events. The ads featured Brock’s portrait.
When questioned about the expenses, Brock told the Republic he planned to destroy his county-issued credit cards and instead buy items only with purchase orders through the clerk of the board.
“I really probably need to be more circumspect,” Brock said. “We have decided to shred our purchase card. I think that our office has responsibly used our purchase card, but it creates an image of and an opportunity for abuse.”
The second leading spender was Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox. The Republic said Wilcox spent nearly $46,000 using her county credit card to purchase baseball jerseys for underprivileged children.
The supervisor who spent the least was Max Wilson. Records show Wilson spent a little over $3,700, most of it on office supplies.
Wilson said his personal philosophy was he didn’t “charge the taxpayers for anything that I do,” including out-of-town lodging, airfare and food.
Records show that over the past five years, the supervisors or their staff charged nearly $181,000.
Supervisors have been especially critical of the Maricopa County sheriff’s office and its credit card spending practices.
Two months ago, county management confiscated government charge cards from hundreds of sheriff’s employees and volunteer posse members, and limited most purchases to $200 per transaction.