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Jim Thorpe board questioned over use of credit card

Published September 12. 2018 12:24PM

For several months, residents of Jim Thorpe have been questioning the Jim Thorpe Area School District Board about credit card usage under the Right to Know law.

The main questions have been who is the owner of the Capital One card being used for district purchases and what happens to the perks earned by purchases made with that card?

At Monday night’s board meeting the question was raised again by the two residents who filed the initial Right to Know requests: Paul Montemuro and Cindy Henning.

After much questioning similar to that of the previous meeting, Henning cited a copy of the account record for the credit card in which the account number and one of the transactions was redacted.

When Henning questioned the redactions, solicitor Gregory Mousseau responded that the redactions were due to confidential information. His answer prompted additional questions regarding transparency of the district’s purchases.

Treasurer John Ciavarella questioned whether the redacted transaction was for a software product.

Lauren Kovac, board secretary and business manager, confirmed that it was for software.

Henning then asked, “Who owns the Capital One card? Is the district’s name on the card?”

Mousseau stated that the district does not own the card in question. Further discussion among the board members revealed that the credit card in question is the personal card of the board’s business manager and board secretary.

Henning then questioned the use of the perks associated with the card. While no direct answer was provided, it can be deduced that the card owner earns the perks associated with the card. When asked how the board planned to address this issue, board member Raniero Marciante suggested that the public stay until the end of the meeting to see.

As Kovac stepped down, Henning quipped, “You can get a card in my name, I can use the miles.”

During the report of the Finance and Insurance Committee later in the meeting, a motion was made to direct the business manager to cease the use of the personal credit card for district business effective immediately. A second motion was made to have the district open an account with Jim Thorpe Neighborhood Bank that is attached to a debit card with a maximum daily limit of $500. Both motions were passed unanimously.

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