WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Wilmington City Council member Laura Padgett requested to be reimbursed about $700 for a trip she took to Washington D.C. in March, but the city’s audit committee denied her request. Now Padgett is saying she doesn’t think the committee handled it properly.
“I don’t think that the intent or the mission of the audit committee should be expanded to that in sitting in judgment on how money is spent,” said Padgett.
City Council had previously voted to prohibit any more spending than the nearly $1,800 dollars allotted to each council member for travel but also allowed them to request reimbursement if money was left over in the budget. The city ended up having thousands of dollars left over from members who did not travel. That money was added to the city’s fund balance.
“It is their responsibility to make sure that the policy is followed and it was and then they voted differently,” said Padgett.
Padgett says she doesn’t feel the audit committee, which is made up of three City Council members, including Charlie Rivenbark, should be making approvals or judgments about other council members.
“It was not a guaranteed thing,” said Rivenbark. “It was something that you could make the request and it could be voted up or voted down.”
Padgett sits on several committees outside of the state and must travel to meetings. However, Rivenbark says though he appreciates what she does, it is costing the city too much money. He says there were several times where Padgett had spent extra money the city had given her for her trips.
“She spent her initial allotment, plus the second pool of money, plus the third pool of money had been exhausted and that was the end of the line,” said Rivenbark.
Rivenbark says the audit committee plans to ask the rest of the council during Tuesday night’s meeting to adopt a travel policy that would require members to request for reimbursements in person.