Charlottesville City Council introduced new credit card policy

Charlottesville City Council introduced new credit card policy

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - After weeks of discussion, and some confusion, Charlottesville City Council may have clearer guidelines for when and how it can use city credit cards.

The policy proposal has been in the works since February, when a memo from Acting City Attorney Lisa Robertson raised questions about Mayor Nikuyah Walker’s spendings. She gave gift cards to people who spoke to city council.

Now there may be some clarity.

Under proposed guidelines: yes. City council could pay for consultance from a person, but Robertson says there are rules.

“If you want to set up a facilitator for a meeting, a consultant to address city council on a matter that you all would like that person’s input or information from, it can be set up as a quid pro quo transaction,” she said. “But again city council as a whole has to have a discussion of how that type of purchase will be made.”

Allowed spendings if they are approved by a city council vote would include charitable donations, compensation to individuals serving on a public body, plus goods or services for a council meeting.

All of those spendings must be done through the Clerk of Council, not by an individual councilor’s credit card.

Walker posed a hypothetical: “Five guys getting $50 gift certificates, what would we need to do to make that happen?”

Robertson replied: “You would either need to get city council to approve that group of people as providing some sort of advisory function to city council... it has to be city council sanctioned as an advisory group.”

With the understanding that the council would be able to pay for consulting services, the next question is: who will it pay?

“Could you set up parameters that say... that anybody who makes less than $50,000 receives $25 a meeting?” asked Councilor Sena Magill.

“I think you could as long as there’s a rational basis for doing that and it’s to facilitate city council receiving something in return,” Robertson said.

Council will take this policy back up in April.

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