Ethics Investigation of #Margate commissioner reveals Gross Incompetence

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He signed an agreement stating the card wasn’t for personal use. He was told numerous times by top City executives over a span of three and half years to stop making personal purchases with his city-issued credit card. Each time, they stated, Margate Commissioner David McLean said he was sorry – or used it by accident – and wouldn’t do it again. (Article amended 3-5-2013)*

Then he did it again.

Completed in January, the investigation into Margate Commissioner David McLean’s misuse of his city purchasing card from May 2007 to October 2011 reads like a whodunnit. McLean testified the city knew about his using the card for personal use. City staff testified they warned McLean more than once regarding his misuse of the card – to no avail.

McLean told state ethics investigators that when he received a city purchasing card shortly after getting elected to office in 2004 no special training or instructions came with the card. He acknowledged using the card for personal purchases “as a matter of convenience because he did not have a card of his own,” reads the January transcript.

According to city records, McLean made more than 37 personal purchases totaling approximately $1,857 in years 2007-2011. Charges to his city card included bar tabs, groceries, gas, vending machines, pet lodging and dining.

McLean told investigators the city’s finance department reviewed his purchases each month. Following, the City Clerk would tell him how much he owed the city. Each time he said he would pay the debt “as soon as possible,” reads the report. Individual purchases by McLean ranged from $2 to $165 and took up to six months to repay.

As far as he could remember, McLean didn’t recall anyone in the City telling him that using the card for personal gain was inappropriate until 2010, when then Margate City Manager, Frank Porcella, suggested he stop using it for personal purchases, he told the investigator.

McLean’s statements to the ethics commission contradicted both the purchasing card agreement he signed in May 2009, and testimony by Margate City Clerk, Leslie Wallace May, who recalled a conference call circa 2007-2008 when Porcella and Margate City Attorney, Eugene Steinfeld, told McLean the card isn’t for personal use. McLean acknowledged signing a purchasing card agreement in 2009, but told the ethics commission he didn’t recall reading it first.

May, who is charged with reconciling monthly expenses by commissioners, testified that whenever she brought personal expenditures to the attention of McLean he would say he used the card by accident – a departure from the commissioner’s testimony that indicated he would use the card for convenience sake or because he didn’t have one of his own, notes the investigation.

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