Alcohol, office parties and birthday gifts are off-limits for village staff and village officials to spend Wellington taxpayer dollars on — but they can spend that money on certain meals linked to village events and work.
Details of Wellington’s expenditure policy were finalized last week, wrapping up a year-long task that came after the Palm Beach County Inspector General’s Office audited Wellington’s purchasing-card use.
That audit generally found card use was in compliance but said nearly half of the purchases the office sampled didn’t have a clear public purpose.
The new policy rights that, council members said.
“This is really spelling out in detail what we are able to do,” Councilwoman Anne Gerwig said.
The no-no’s: entertainment and alcoholic beverages. Also, gifts for village officials, staff, employees or relatives in recognition of life events such as birthdays, births or deaths. Greeting cards are allowed, though.
Office parties and holiday celebrations aren’t reimbursable. Neither are political events, contributions or donations.
Meals aren’t reimbursable during regular staff meetings or other regular business meetings — situations without extenuating circumstances.
What’s OK? Meals charged as part of a workshop, conference or staff retreat. Also, meals at meetings focused on Wellington business that extend through breakfast, lunch or dinner — but the village manager or someone he designates must approve that beforehand.
Food and drinks are allowed at employee recognition events, for performance or retirement, for example — again, with the village manager’s consent.
Refreshments can be provided during village meetings open to the public, but the village manager has final say. They also can be provided for staff retreats held for the purposes of team building and work-related planning.
And staff can give refreshments to village guests and visitors.
According to the Florida Attorney General’s Office, the village council defines what is and isn’t a “public purpose.”
The inspector general’s audit, released in April 2012, reviewed 763 purchases that totaled $174,970 for the first 10 months of fiscal year 2011. Of those, 330, or 43 percent, equaling $28,597, were called questionable.