Wilmington City Council member wants any left over money to go in her pocket first

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Submitted: Wed, 02/02/2011 - 10:13pm
Updated: Thu, 10/27/2011 - 3:06pm

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — With these tough economic times, people are thinking twice when it comes to spending money, but Wilmington City Councilwoman Laura Padgett has had no problem running up her travel expense tab and even exceeding the limit. Tuesday night City Council voted unanimously to let Padgett dip into some more cash, but one member says it’s the first and last time it will happen.

“I’m just telling you I think we have a budget, and we need to try and live within that, and this year I don’t have a problem with what Ms. Padgett said, and Mr. Sparks agreed with that, if there is money left over to dip into that, but after this year I would not be in favor of it,” said Wilmington City Councilman Charlie Rivenbark. “If you’re going to be on these boards and commissions, you need to make other arrangements.”

Rivenbark said it is what it is. If you’re elected to serve the people, you have to be willing take on responsibilities even if it hits your own personal wallet.

“These are extraordinary times, and I want to recognize that and I’m not asking to do more than other people or to misspend the city’s money, and with that in mind I would like to see an amendment to the resolution that says something to the effect that I will spend my own money to finish the commitment I made, but when we get to the end of June, if there is money still in the travel fund that has not been used, I would have first dibs in being reimbursed,” Padgett said.

City council members, like Padgett, joined committees to help diversify the city, but now she says it’s coming at much too high a cost. In Tuesday’s vote, council agreed to let Padgett dip into the city’s budget if any money is left in it at the end of the year.

City Manager Sterling Cheatham sees no problem with Tuesday’s vote.

“We learn so much when we go out and see how other communities are dealing with the same issues that we’re dealing with, and we’re able to transport a lot of those back, and we can focus on creating things that are new as opposed to recreating the wheel,” he said.

Cheatham said travel is essential to creating a unique and prosperous community. City council is allotted $19,000 dollars for travel expenses. Padgett already reached her allotment for the year.


  • Protest Padgett! says:

    We need to all stand up for this city and go downtown and protest this greedy woman!!! Lets start a large protest and demand her resignation! Who is with me? Lets start a facebook page to get support!

  • GuestLee says:

    OK, so city employees haven’t gotten a raise in…going on 3 years. But city council can afford to go on trips amounting to $19,000 a year times those same 3 years = $57,000. They seem to be able to find money for what THEY want, but don’t seem to put much value on their employees.

  • Rufus says:

    Padgett must think she is another Beverly Perdue, with all that travel on taxpayer expense. She needs to resign immediately.

  • Guesting game says:

    Really? Need to travel to other places and see how they do it. I agree with an earlier post, make a phone call or teleconference. Oh wait, doing so might eliminate the need for that travel money allotment and then council would have to stay here and work. Just about the entire council needs to go. When I say GO, I don’t mean go on to be a county commissioner.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday says:

    In addition to being a champion jet-setter, running up massive travel bills with little to show for it, she is the guardian angel of that bottomless well of red ink, Wave Transit.

  • Guest says:

    I am sorry I don’t feel sorry for the council. Thank you Rivenbark for finally standing up for the people. My husband works 3 jobs to make ends meet and yes I work also. We have a budget, and no matter how much I want to go out and help others I have to still pay my bills before helping others. IF THE COUNCIL AND THE COUNTY COMMISSIONER ETC. REALY ARE FOR THE PEOPLE WHY DO WE NEED TO PAY THEM ANYTHING….THAT IS IF YOU REALLY ARE THERE FOR THE PEOPLE!!!!WAKE UP TAX PAYERS FOR THE NEXT ELECTION……CHANGE IS ON THE WAY!!

  • Guest says:

    That is $1,583.33 a month. I do not think that is taxed either. Take 20% tax bracket and you would have to earn $1900.00 a month pre tax to bring home 1,583.33. AND THIS IS FOR TRAVEL?????? Many people are struggling and would love to have an extra 1583 a month. Keep voting her in though people you get what you ask for!!!!

  • Yaqngie says:

    It says city council has a $19,0000 budget for travel which means all 7 members have to share this budget. $19,000/7 members = $2714.29 per member for the year which with cities and counties starts in July (summer months).

    Not saying what she is asking is correct for her to do but do take into consideration that she hasnt blown $19,000 in a month period of time.

  • Guest says:

    Padgette needs to leave commissioner seat and ive met her sever times in several places also isnt really nice person to say hi or to even talk to since she s really so stuck up to herself. She is not the type of a person we need at the seat of county commissioner s seat! Any money that is from tax payers money goin through county or city government belongs to the government for the city and county purposes and not to be into any elected officals pockets!

  • Guest says:

    I too have met Padgette several times and also consider her a bit aloof.Not a very nice person.

  • GuestLee says:

    Laura Padgett is NOT a county commissioner; she is a member of city council. Maybe you were thinking of Jason Thompson, who used to be a city council member, but is now a county commissioner.

  • Guest says:

    This is crazy. I am upset that they are allowed $19,000 in travel expenses – and then that’s not enough! Some people could use $19,000 wisely to feed and clothe their children. What arrogance!!!

  • Guest3658974 says:

    How arrogant. How do you already run out of your allotment for the yeqar and its only February. Sounds like someone needs to be shown how to balance a checkbook. Mrs. Padgett, if there is any money left how about the citizens of Wilmington get first dibs, since it is their money.

  • Guest says:

    Another prime example of a member of government styling herself to be more important than the community she purports to represent. Anyone ever hear of reading? Teleconferencing?

    A budget is a financial limit which governs our activities.

    Ms. Padgett’s attitude reflects contempt for the taxpayers, disrespect for those of us who have put her in office. I’m not surpursed that Comm. Sparks would agree with her seeing that he gave an engineering opinion at a fat fee to the city while failing to have contractually mandated insurance.

    If the mayor and other members of the commission have tightened their belts and worked within their means, good for them, they did the right thing. They need to remember that it is the taxpayers’ money, not theirs to dole out as they see fit.

    My solution to Ms. Padgett’s overspending would be to hold it out against HER future funding allocation.

  • GuestFIRE says:

    So Ms. Padgett is needing money and her allowance is gone. Can she not take her own medicine and not ask for anymore. When a City department asks for more and they don’t have it, what are they told…NO! Come lady where is your leading by example?? Suck it up and use some of your own money, and as for going to see how others do it, pick up the phone and use the old art of conversation.

  • Guest444 says:

    Certainly nothing to this piece. Nothing at all, except that Padget has reached her travel allotment for the year.

    And this is news?

    WWAY, in its quest to go after local government leaders, will snatch up any little tidbit of nothingness and run with it.

  • Guestiguess says:

    It’s funny that the articles that some claim are “not news worthy” are the articles with the most reader comments. I guess what’s not important to you, might be to others. Nonetheless, thanks for voting on this one. I look forward to finding out which other articles are not news worthy too.

  • Guest says:

    Is your name Jason Thompson?

  • guesty says:

    She reached her spending limit but they are going to move money around for her? If I run out of money, I’m out of travel and buying options. But then I guess this is similar to where Raleigh took the top limit that the gas tax was ever allowed to reach and decided to change that to the lower limit. Got to love politicians, the rules don’t apply to them.

  • Guest7969 says:

    thats all I have to say…I am EXTREMELY HAPPY that annexation is going to be blocked…I want NOTHING to do with these idiots!

  • Guest7969 says:

    OBAMA…NHC Commissioners…I ran out of money this month to pay my bills…cause I blew it on other things…can you SLIDE me some cash so I can pay em!?? Until we reign in EVERY FLIPPING one of these idiots, bend them over our knees and give them a THRASHING…they are going to continue to spend, spend, spend! Their answer…ALWAYS is…LETS RAISE TAXES! Don’t forget..the taxes we pay now…were SUPPOSED to be temporary…

  • taxpayer says:

    but equally as arrogant as Jason.

  • Guest says:

    Laura Padgett, GO AWAY! Your attitude is disgusting. You are the reason that taxpayers hate politcians. What makes you more important than everyone else to call “first dibs” on leftover money? Once you use your portion of the allotted expenses, that is it. I would be in favor of a resolution that buys Laura Padgett a ONE-WAY ticket to Siberia!

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