Highlights of MSB Credit Card Statements

Cake

Here are some highlights from the MSB Credit Card statements that were featured on the Facebook group, “Mat-Su Valley News.”

NOTE: To see the complete set of credit card statements, go to the separate posts on this blog where the documents themselves are posted.

NOTE:  I obtained the MSB employee issued credit card statements for the past few fiscal years.  Cards are issued to the MSB Clerk, Attorney, Manager and Asst. Manager and Department Heads.  However, keep in mind that most of the MSB’s purchases and payments are not made via the MSB employee credit cards.  Most purchases/payments are made through the purchasing office and are by check or other means.  Thus, the vast majority of MSB’s expenses will NOT be found on these credit card statements.

TRAVEL: 

If there is a budget crunch, why in the world are we sending MSB employees to all sorts of fancy conferences all over the USA and why are we paying for international trips?

We sent a group of MSB officials to Toyko, Japan, in the fall of 2015.  Airfare alone was about 11K for the four officials who traveled. How much were the hotels and meals? I’m guessing that this trip was close to 20K total.  Airfare:  Charles Van Dongen – $2,960.50; Robert Sheldon – $2,960.50; Ron Arvin – $2,519.60; and Steve Colligan – $2,519.60

 

The MSB Clerk attended the International Municipal Clerk’s Conference in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

We sent not one, but two attorneys, to the International Municipal Attorney’s Association’s conference in Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada in October 2017.  The Hilton Niagara Falls rooms were about $900 each (not sure how many days this included) and lots of meals out. Was it critical for two MSB attorneys to go to the International Municipal Atty’s Association meeting in Niagra Falls? Can’t they just get a subscription to a Municipal Attorneys’ newsletter or magazine?

Las Vegas: We paid for the MSB Attorney to take a trip to Las Vegas. I am assuming this was for some sort of conference. The cost of his hotel room at the Rio Suites was $921.98 and he had meals at the Mandalay Bay Side Buffet and the Royal India Bistro; also the Rio Seafood Buffet.

The MSB Attorney also went to Wash DC in Nov 2015. Now – why does our Atty need to travel to Wash, DC? Also, we paid for him to buy something at Hudson News at the airport.

We paid for expensive airfare (Delta $1,147.50 and Alaska $790) for two legal assistants to attend a NALS (paralegal) conference. August 2017. Las Vegas.

Community Development Director Eric Phillips charged room(s) at Land’s End Resort in Homer August 28th 2015.

We paid fees of $1625.00 for a Planner to attend the IAP2 conference. This was just the registration fee.

John Moosey must have had a lovely trip to Juneau and Haines in August 2017. He attended the Alaska Municipal League conference. He spent $100 for “raffle gifts” at Target for the conference. He took the ferry from Juneau to Haines. He stayed at the historic Hotel Halsingland at a cost of $714.

On August 14th, 2017, there is a charge for a Delta air ticket for $996.90 for John Moosey to take a trip to Minnesota for a “Septage Site Visit.” Kandiyohi County – i.e. the lakes district of Minnesota. Now, didn’t Moosey used to work/live in Minnesota?

Ferry Ride Puget Sound

The two folks in the Public Affairs section went to Denver for some sort of conference.

The Sheraton in Bellvue Washington is extremely expensive.

The Hyatt Regency in Long Beach, CA is expensive.

We send MSB employees such as the Manager and Atty and sometimes Assembly members to Wash DC on a regular basis. But, why? Does it really make any difference? Also, who is James Wilson and why do we pay for him to take so many biz trips?

John Moosey ran up a tab of $412.28 at this steakhouse in Wash DC on 12/6/16. Fogo

Borough assembly members Dan Mayfield and Randall Kowalke, and borough manager John Moosey participated, borough public affairs director Patty Sullivan said. A cost estimate for the trip was not available at press time.” (from above article)

We spent a lot of money for lodging in Seward.

LOCAL RESTAURANTS and other food items:

The photo of the MSB cake is from the Oct, 2016, Assembly meeting when the results of the election were certified. Assembly Members Jim Sykes and Matthew Beck were sworn into office. On the MSB Clerk’s Oct 2016 credit card statement are charges for Flowers by Louise – $240.71 (those are expensive flowers) and A Pinch of Imagination (a cake place)  $210.00 (that is an expensive cake!)

Why are the taxpayers picking up the tab for these niceties? Shouldn’t the Assembly candidates’ campaign funds be used?

The Inn Cafe steakhouse – two charges of $274.25 each time – Dec 1st and Dec 15th 2015.

Why did the Manager have three charges in one day at the Inn Cafe and two of them were for exactly $100. Were these for gift certificates? Tips?

Why are the MSB taxpayers picking up the tab for so many restaurant meals for MSB employees? (See the Sept 2016 Statement for John Moosey.)

Check out Moosey’s statement for Sept 2016 – many local meals. Inn Cafe. La Fiesta. etc.

Some highlights from July 2017: July 24th – Inn Cafe Steakhouse $79.71 Lunch Meeting – George Hays, Terry Dolan, and Butch Shapiro (ALL OF THESE FOLKS WORK TOGETHER EVERY SINGLE DAY; WHY CAN’T THEY MEET IN THEIR OFFICES?); 22 July Amazon – $22.60 for Chai Tea Order; 26 July 2017 – Three Bears $217.75 “supplies for quarterly employee BBQ.” UM – we pay for a BBQ four times per year for the MSB employees?

Oct 25, 2017 – $275.80 at Tacos Cancun (Wasilla) on Jude Bilafer’s card (Director of Capital Projects) for “Dept Annual Meeting.”

Oct. 30th, 2017 “$16.48 – Fred Meyer ” “Drinks for the Sales Tax meeting” (Plus the time it took for the MSB employee to shop at Fred Meyer for this item.)

On Aug. 1st, the MSB used the Atty’scard to charge up $307.20 for the Assembly Members to have a meal from (you guessed it) the Inn Cafe STeakhouse. (Are they eating together and does this constitute a “meeting” and are they complying with the “open meeetings” act?)

On August 15, 2017, Patty Sullivan charged “$5.64” at Vagabond Blues for “Small Food Item.”

August 10, 2017: $62.53 Palmer City Alehouse charge on the Atty’s card for “lunch discussing Solid Waste issues with Butch Shapiro” (Butch is also a MSB employee – he runs the Landfill)

James Steele House of Bread Wasilla $136.99

The MSB clerk charged “$1,172.75” at GLACIER BREW HOUSE IN ANCHORAGE. She also charged up $379 at Sullivan’s Steak House. Also $80 at the Captain Cook. All in this one month.

Sacks Cafe Anchorage $59.00 (I love the fancy Sacks cafe but I have only eaten there once or twice for a special occasion.)

MatSu Family Restaurant $378.25 – I wonder how many families could have eaten here for that amount?

The MSB attorney likes the Palmer City Alehouse and Simon & Seaforts. I like Simon & Seaforts too but I can’t afford to eat there very often.

The Asst Borough Manager bought stuff at: Fred Meyer, three Bears and Cabelas and dined at Turkey Red. Also, lots of Keurig Green Mountain Coffee.

The MSB buys mountains and mountains of Keurig Green Mountain Coffee.  There are charges for Keurig coffee on almost every card.

KCUPS

Here is an example:

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$153.64 on August 18, 2016. Seems like a lot. grape tap

Jude Bilafer – December 2016 – two charges for Mat Su Valley Meats. $232.55 and $20.00.

J Fairchild – “Abby’s Home Cooking” Sunday, Jan 24, 2016 for “77.00”

MISCELLANEOUS

Should these credit cards be used for tuition payments? George Hays – deputy manage 1614.96 university of Florida plus a 41.99 service fee for transaction

I saw a charge to the University of Creighton for $2800. I have to look for it again.

Drones

We paid over 6K for some sort of digital or photo equipment from B & H Photo.

Statement “OO” – John Moosey bought something from the Apple online store for $1,599.00 on May 10, 2015.

We pay thousands (my guess is maybe in the 100 – 200K range) per year in all sorts of “association” fees. I think almost every single MSB employee belongs to one or more professional associations. And then they attend these associations’ conferences. Are we really getting any bang for our buck?

Lifeloc

Ancestry dot com  Eric Phillips

He also paid for Ancestry in FY2017 – see my previous post from a few months ago – when I obtained the FY2017 credit card statements.

Sonya Conant – Human Resources – hired Alaska Investigation Agency for $209.95

Wasilla Special Events Party Store – over $937.70.  Also House of Bread $170.98

Scan_20180109 (3)

People may not realize that when a entity wins an award, there is usually an application fee. So, awards are not free. Are they necessary?

Cooper River fleece (clothing) and Moo.com (I love Moo.com biz cards)

And $150 at a Tie store. 

The Planning Dept paid $474.00 to the Talkeetna River Guide company. Maybe they needed to look at something in a remote area.

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