The Union Recorder

April 3, 2012

Joiner issues apology to city, constituents

From staff reports
The Union-Recorder

MILLEDGEVILLE — Milledgeville City Councilman Phillip Joiner, District 4, issued a statement Tuesday amid questions about personal expenditures on his city-issued credit card recently brought to light.

Joiner has maintained that under advice of a past city finance director, he understood that the card was for his use as he saw fit. Joiner used the card primarily for training and travel expenses, meals where he says he and guests discussed city business and personal charges. He said some of the charges were accidental and were repaid promptly while others were overlooked and were paid last week.

Joiner chalked up his confusion over the cards to instructions he says he received from former city finance director Don Toms who resigned in late 2010.

"While I did receive very misleading leadership and advice about its use, the blame ultimately falls on me," Joiner said in his statement. "I should have asked more questions, I should have consulted more people and the card carries my name on it — making it my responsibility and mine alone."

Joiner's initial reaction, he said, was to adopt a defensive posture regarding the inquiry into his activity.

"I came to the realization that I needed to apologize to my constituents," he said. "Contrition is never bad."

"While I have reimbursed to the taxpayers the charges in question and have long since discontinued use of the card, I accept all questions and concerns as legitimate and fair and will mindfully be aware of, informed on and adhere to all aspects of the ethics designation that we have recently passed as I move forward into the final 21 months of my term in office," he said.