Upstate Governments Spend Thousands On Employee Christmas Gifts - WSPA.com

Upstate Governments Spend Thousands On Employee Christmas Gifts

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Upstate governments spend thousands on gifts cards and holiday meals. Upstate governments spend thousands on gifts cards and holiday meals.
SPARTANBURG, S.C. - Upstate city and county governments spent thousands of dollars on gift cards and holiday parties in 2013.

The biggest payments were to grocery stores.  Several upstate governments gave every employee at $25 gift card to local groceries.

Those holiday gifts are not unusual and, last year, many governments managed to spend less than in years past.

7 On Your Side used the Freedom of Information Act, sending letters to Upstate cities and counties asking how much money they spent on holiday celebrations.  In many cases the amount spent declined from the previous year.

Anderson County spent less in 2013 than in the year before on Thanksgiving dinner.

In 2012 Anderson County spent more than $4,500 on dinner from “Carlee and Toney’s on Main”.  In 2013 the same meal at “Roy’s Diner” cost $3000.

The biggest expense in most cases is grocery gift cards.

The city of Greenville bought more than 900 “holiday themed” BiLo gift cards at $25 each.  They were given to each employee.  The bill to the taxpayers was more than $21,000.

The city of Spartanburg bought similar $25 grocery cards for employees.  The bill totaled more than $10,000.

Spartanburg also spent another $10 thousand on other holiday celebrations for a total cost of more than $21,500.

The city manager said the celebrations include a customer appreciation party at the airport.  He called the gifts reasonable and said they were smaller than in prior years.

The biggest decrease in spending comes in Gaffney.

In 2012 the city spent more than $76 thousand on bonuses to city employees, including to elected politicians.

In 2013 those bonuses disappeared and, while Gaffney spent $2600 on gift cards, the total holiday bill rang in at less than $5000.
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