Campus News

State of Georgia toughens fiscal accountability for its employees

UGA’s demonstrated commitment to strong internal controls makes it well positioned to manage the stringent new accountability rules enacted by the state, according to Tim Burgess, senior vice president for finance and administration.

House Bill 1113, passed by the Georgia legislature in response to recent, highly publicized cases of P-card abuse across the state, takes effect July 1.

“The provisions of this new law may seem overwhelming,” ­Burgess said. “However, UGA’s track record of strong P-card controls and approval systems will enable us to continue to administer the P-card program as an effective and efficient tool for purchasing. We want to make sure all UGA employees have information about the requirements of HB 1113 and understand their responsibilities under the law.”

Under HB 1113, anyone who uses resources for personal benefit through abuse of purchase orders, check requests, petty cash accounts/advances, government contracts, credit cards, charge cards or debit cards will face civil and criminal penalties. This includes the filing of fraudulent expense forms for travel. Anyone who knowingly assists someone in violating the law, including but not limited to supervisors, will face the same criminal charges and penalties.

“There really is no gray area under this new law,” said Steve Shewmaker, executive director of legal affairs. “Any misuse, even inadvertent-such as mistakenly pulling out a P-card from a wallet for a personal purchase and then reporting the mistake-must be reported to the board of regents. The clear intent of this bill is to communicate that misappropriation of resources will not be tolerated.”

While HB 1113 addresses personal benefit through multiple resources or methods and outlines significant criminal penalties, a particular focus is placed on P-card use. A summary of these requirements and related penalties is available online at

In general, HB 1113 states that if misused funds are less than $500, a state employee may be charged with a misdemeanor and be subject to no more than 12 months of imprisonment and a fine not to exceed $5,000; if the total amount misused exceeds $500, then the person may be charged with a felony punishable by up to 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of $50,000 or three times the amount of unlawful purchases, whichever is greater. In either case, the employee can be fired immediately.

Any reports of misuse are required to be reported centrally from the university Controller’s Office to the Chief Auditor’s Office at the board of regents. The complete text of HB 1113 is available at The finance and administration Web site ( features a number of frequently asked questions on HB 1113.