John Martin has told the media and the people that independent auditors investigating his use of the county purchasing card actually cleared him of wrongdoing and that he did not knowingly violate any rules or statutes when he pocketed $1,800.00 in per diem and charged nearly $3000.00 on his county purchasing card for meals that were supposed to be paid with the per diem. His allegations are clearly false and one needs only to read John Martin’s statements to the independent auditor to confirm this.
When questioned on the applicability of the travel expenditures policy that he violated, Commissioner Martin told the independent auditor the he felt the travel expenditures policy “does not apply to everyone” and that elected officials are entitled to “flexibility” in following the rules and could use their “discretion” to violate polices whenever they wanted. See the audit where he makes these claims here. John Martin’s defense of his policy violations was the moral and legal equivalent of Nixon’s defense of “if the President does it, it is not illegal.” Commissioner Martin behaves as if he is above the law and then has the gall to lie to the media and the people about the conclusions of the independent auditor.
He makes the outrageous statement he did not know he was violating the travel expenditures policy even though he personally approved of that policy and that policy clearly applies to elected officials. See the policy here. His hubris and lack of shame knows no bounds; he thinks the people are too stupid to actually read the audit so he can lie about its contents.
Here are the facts concerning his purchasing card usage that Commissioner Martin thinks merit no concern:
John Martin gets to attend national conventions of county commissioners that are held in various places across the country. At these conventions John Martin charges various items on his county issued Visa card, including meals. The county’s travel expenditures policy requires meal expenses be fully documented with the amount spent, time and place of purchase, the items purchased, the business purpose justifying the expense, and the identity of other attendees. John Martin, however, does not comply with these basic requirements when travelling on the county dime and, in his own words, does not feel like he should have to comply.
And for years this is how it was, John Martin would not follow the travel expenditures policy and nobody called him on it. However, John Martin’s failure to follow policy was could no longer be covered up when, in 2015, the county hired an independent auditor to investigate John Martin’s meal purchases while at these conventions. During this audit, the auditors interviewed John Martin about his understanding of the travel expenditures policy that he personally approved of in 2013 to ferret out whether or not these violations were intentional. Instead of owning up to his violations of policy during the interview, John Martin launched into the absolutely absurd defense that he thinks the rules are optional when applied to him. A thief is a thief no matter his opinion on the applicability of the law.
The auditors explicitly say that Martin does not set a good example for county employees to follow and that his leadership was setting the wrong tone when it comes to compliance with county polices. The audit did not clear John Martin of wrongdoing; it makes the case that John Martin is poor leader and attempted to cover up his wrongdoing with an implausible interpretation of the travel expenditure policy.
The auditors are right. Leadership means setting the example to be emulated. John Martin’s leadership shows that rules are optional in Garfield County so long as John Martin does not want to follow them. Corruption flourishes in Garfield County at the highest levels and this must change now.