Elizabeth Gedeon, who worked as Mayor Greg Zilka’s secretary for 2½ years, resigned in July after it came to the attention of the Finance Department that she had been using a city credit card, which bore her name, to purchase personal items like movie rentals, gas and meals.
Over the course of a year, Gedeon purchased more than $11,000 in items, although she always paid for the statements with her own money and city funds were never used. Zilka said previously that the city’s employee handbook specifically prohibits using credit cards for personal purchases, but that Gedeon said she was unaware of the policy or ever receiving an employee handbook.
The issue was overlooked because statements for Gedeon’s card were addressed to her, she would pay the balances and they never made it to the Finance Department.
During Monday night’s City Council meeting, Finance Director Steve Presley said he recently met with the police chief, fire chief and mayor to go over the city’s credit card policy and answer any questions they had concerning it.
“All individuals who have a city credit card have signed off and acknowledged receipt and understanding of the policies,” Presley said.
Presley said steps were taken to ensure all statements are sent to the Finance Department from now on.
“The credit card statements when they come in to the city will be directed directly to me, except for my credit card statement, which will go to the mayor’s office, and be opened by him,” Presley said.
Once purchases are reviewed Presley said statements will be directed to appropriate department heads who will reconcile the costs with any purchase orders before they submit monthly reports to the Finance Department.
Presley said he is confident the new steps will deter situations similar to Gedeon’s in the future, although he said the credit card policy was not the problem.
“I don’t believe the policy was the problem or needed any revisions,” Presley said. “It was just some of the internal controls relevant to the statements and how they were directed that allowed situations to develop here at city hall.”
Gedeon resigned after a discussion with city officials July 12, and Zilka said she did not break any laws.