Council candidates speak out about Padgett's spending
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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Elections for municipal offices are less than 100 days away, and candidates are working hard to get their names and viewpoints noticed. Wilmington City Councilwoman Laura Padgett is running for reelection, but she's making waves after being denied reimbursement for a trip she took to Washington, DC.

Padgett's request to be reimbursed for around $700 was denied by the city's Audit Committee when they decided her travel expenses cost more than what's allowed.

"I think it's irresponsible for a council member to be travelling all over the continent to California and to Panama to do research into traffic planning," City Council candidate Napier Fuller said. "I think you can certainly do that research right here in Wilmington more effectively and at lower cost to the citizens."

Fuller is running against Padgett for City Council. He believes trips to conventions about transportation and traffic should be left up to city planners not city leaders.

Joshua Fulton, who is also running for City Council, agrees.

"I don't think Laura Padgett should be able to go wherever she wants or wherever the League of Municipalities tells her to go and think it's going to be reimbursed by the Wilmington taxpayer," Fulton said. "If she needs to go somewhere, it should be for Wilmington business, and that's the only thing that should be reimbursed to her."

Fulton says the city's spending is out of control.

Councilman Ronald Sparks is running for reelection, as well. He says he neither agrees nor disagrees with the decision to deny Padgett's reimbursement, but he does believe the Audit Committee should not have the power to make operational decisions, only to enforce policies and bring their recommendations before the full council.

Sparks believes involvement in national committees is important. He said he realizes travel is expensive and the council does not want to squander the public's money.

"We're not gallivanting around the countryside, enjoying lavish trips to far away, great lands," Sparks said. "We're just trying to lobby our legislators, be a part of committees that are important on the state and local level as well and try to find ways to save us money here and find money for us."

Wilmington City Council meets at 6 p.m. at City Hall. Sparks says the reimbursement denial is not final and the issue could be brought up again tonight.

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Ron Sparks "neither agrees nor disagrees with the decision to deny Padgett's reimbursement". If Mr. Sparks is incapable of formulating an opinion on issues concerning the City of Wilmington, why has he been elected to a position of leadership in this city?

The people who voted him in should be ashamed of themselves!

Well, Mr. Sparks SAYS he "neither agrees nor disagrees with the decision to deny Padgett's reimbursement", but then he also says he believes that "involvement in national committees is important." (Notice he's starting to back up here.)

"We're not gallivanting around the countryside, enjoying lavish trips to far away, great lands," (backing up more) - Uh, are you saying because Ms. Padgett didn't jetset to Greece that it's OK, because Panama is practically right next door to us?

Mr. Sparks also said the council is trying "to find ways to save us money here and find money for us." - Well, the best way to do that is STAY HOME and not waste taxpayers money!

People, seriously, vote these clowns OUT OF OFFICE! What were you thinking?

economic benefit the City of Wilmington has derived from her trip to Panama...none that I can see. Someone once asked how you can tell when a politician is lying...I believe the answer was "when you see their lips move."

Whereas you and I don't have the ability to have the taxpayers of the City pay for our trips, those who currently occupy the seats of City Council do. Until we vote them all out of office, we'll continue to suffer from the same fiscal mismanagement as we see now...starting at the top with the Mayor.

"We're not gallivanting around the countryside, enjoying lavish trips to far away, great lands," acording to Ronny.

What business was so important in Panama that old Laura had to attend. You guys need to learn about video conferencing. But let me not forget that you were one of the one's that spent nearly 20,000 on a vacation to DC with your families. Give me a break!!!

If you don't call all the city council and express your total opposition to this reimbursement for Laura Padgett, believe me, it will sneak right through and she WILL be reimbursed. City council holds the checkbook as far as WHERE funds are spent and HOW MUCH.

My own personal opinion? We should vote them ALL out, and start again from scratch.

Speak up or shut up!

I agree with you totally. CLEAN HOUSE ON ELECTION DAY. THAT'S HOW I VOTE !

she is just acting like perdue wasting tax dollars to travel and vaction on so called needed meeting which are worthless.

You gotta start somewhere, and the best place to start is in your own backyard. Wilmington needs some SERIOUS house cleaning!