WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Wilmington City Councilwoman Laura Padgett says the city's travel policy needs to be amended. At the council meeting Tuesday night, Padgett proposed changing the policy by stating any reimbursement request that doesn't meet the travel policy to not be paid, which can then be appealed by the individual. She also proposed requiring members to request in person the use of additional money known as pool money to cover any extra expenses.
Padgett says the national committees she sits on that require her to travel all over the country are worth the thousands of dollars in taxpayers’ money.
“At least the voice of mid size cities like Wilmington is getting heard,” said Padgett. “Now, can I say that we have this number of dollars that came back? No. But, Wilmington was recognized in participating and recognized in being interested.”
Padgett spent more than $5,000 on travel during the last fiscal year, not including the $800 reimbursed by the national committees that she sits on.
“I think it's my responsibility to make the trips as cheap as possible,” said Padgett. “The only expense I asked for was out of pocket costs for the hotel.”
She asked the audit committee for about $700 to be reimbursed, but her request was turned down.
“If you take the time and effort and get involved at those levels, then the policy says you will be reimbursed for those through an additional fund,” said Padgett.
Padgett took trips to several places around the country including California, Texas, Washington and Colorado, spending more than $2,000 over what she says she was allotted. She says the meetings and trips are essential to get things accomplished in Wilmington.
“But those things take time and they take time in City Council,” said Padgett. “They take time to learn what's going on and they take time to develop.”
City Council voted to take up the travel policy issue again in two weeks at their next meeting.