The airport audit | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The airport audit

Posted By on Wed, May 18, 2011 at 8:56 AM

Little Rock Municipal Airport Commission chief Virgil Miller said this morning that he asked airport Executive Director Ron Mathieu to "think through" his decision to turn in his airport credit card after yesterday's commission meeting.

The Democrat-Gazette this morning reports (behind a pay wall) on Mathieu's move and on an audit of the airport that Miller said was the most thorough audit the airport has had since he took a seat on the commission five years ago. The audit recommends that the airport's finance officer, Carol Snay, have final say on all expenditures, a practice the airport has not followed because of what it termed a "decentralization" of authority.

We reported on airport credit card use last year; top airport officials charged $272,000 to bank and credit cards over a 12-month period. Commissioners said Tuesday that requiring airport personnel to use their own credit cards and then get reimbursed for expenses was "overkill," Miller said. Miller said eight credit cards on the same account have been issued to department heads, but that Mathieu is the only one to turn his in. The department heads have bank cards from Metropolitan National Bank, where the airport has an account (and where, coincidentally, Miller works). Only Mathieu and Deputy Director Bryan Malinowski have credit cards, issued by American Express. Miller said he thought the word credit card was being used synonymously with bank card; we've asked for clarification on that point.

Miller said the audit was more thorough because of a "heightened sensibility" based on expenses reported in the Times last year, including a $40,000 payment to the director's child's private school, which made the purchase of new turf for the football field possible. The audit also said the airport may have violated state law when it purchased gifts of music boxes for departing commissioners Carl Johnson and Jimmy Moses, which cost a little less than $500 each, far more than the $100 limit the state imposes on gifts to public servants.

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