Wilmington City Council member denied reimbursement for travel by audit committee


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Submitted: Tue, 08/02/2011 - 3:10am
Updated: Wed, 05/15/2013 - 12:35am By:

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.

22 Comments

  • Guest CommonTater says:

    ““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.”

    This statement is so ignorant. You set a horrible example and now you want to whine because you have been called out? Oh how the “mighty” have fallen…..

  • OtherGuest says:

    There should be ZERO expense account for ANY travel for ANY reason by ANY council member.

    It is a CITY council, their business is here. It is time that these types of expenses are deleted (there will be many justifications for continuing, but they will not be justified). It is time to REVERSE (not cease) the growth of all government entities. Therein lies the root of all social problems, the growth of government for the sake of those governing.

    I will vote for the first person that stands up for this obvious solution.

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday says:

    …make it getting rid of this woman. She has no problem demanding more from you for every nutso project she’s enamored with, but then gets upset when she’s caught with her hand in the cookie jar.

  • GuestLee says:

    You forgot to mention that, if current policies and procedures don’t agree with her travel plans, she wants to change them. She’s trying to get the policy changed so she can travel even more at taxpayer’s expense.

  • Guest 4545 says:

    The trip should have been approved by whom ever controls the “purse strings” prior to the travel being planned and booked.
    It would appear that Padgett thinks she has a blank check every time she decides she wants to go some where.
    That should not be the way it’s done. Prior authorization should always be required.

  • GuestLee says:

    The problem is that the city council controls the purse strings. City council authorizes and gives approvals. Every department in the city reports to the city manager, and he reports to the city council. So, the only accountability city council has is, ultimately, to the citizens of wilmington. Only the citizens can express their approval or disapproval by how they vote.

  • Guest2012 says:

    What did you have to go to Washington DC for anyway???????????

    Pay your own fare to goof off or go on vacation!!!

    Haven’t you heard of ACCOUNTABILITY?

    We’re sick of this nonsense!

  • Guest travler says:

    her daughter lives there dummy, that’s why

  • taxpayeriam says:

    Spent over 3 times the amount allotted what else does she do that cost the taxpayers extra money.Special project she wants funded.It is time to get new council members because some have out lived there purpose as a responsible member when it comes to making decisions on the use of tax money for city and personnel use.

  • ChefnSurf says:

    The voting public’s proper response: “How dare you stay in a position of leadership in Wilmington !”

  • Guest2012 says:

    Don’t worry, She’s OUTTA THERE come the next election.

    I liked the old accountability measures of tar and feathers!

    Thieves, Cheats and Liars = Politicians on all levels.

    Vote for a trustworthy candidate like Ricky Meeks.

  • Guest5555555555555555555555555 says:

    I used to ask questions of these local politicians. Even though I am from NC, I am not from Wilmington. I have lived here for 5 yrs. Guess doesn’t ever qualify me as they call themselves Wilmington-ions. They seem to get mad and vindictive like your attacking them when you ask questions. So be glad you can say something unless they find out who you are.

  • SurfCityTom says:

    all over.

    If she spent her inital allocation of funding, and came back for more, then she should have realized her request could be denied.

    Maybe she missed some of the other articles, during the past 30 days in which so many Public Officials have been called to task for exceeding allocated travel budgets.

    City Council is no different. You shouldn’t spend what isn’t there.

    And if City Council is the body which approves or denies requests, then maybe the message being sent is the request will not float. After all, the audit committee is comprised of 3 Council Members.

  • Challengetheworld says:

    The city needs it’s governing body here FIRST to clean up the city and make decisions locally before seeking assistance/cooperation elsewhere. If we were in a perfectly balanced budget scenario, and the economy was thriving, I have no qualms with this. However, this is not the time or place for this type of lavish spending.

  • FRUSTRATED says:

    What a joke this lady is. Thank goodness for level headed people on the council to keep her spending in check. Laura Padgett has no idea how to survive unless she’s spending someone elses money,it’s time to vote her out.

  • Guest2020 says:

    “Padgett sits on several committees outside of the state and must travel to meetings.”

    Why is this Wilmington’s concern and why should the taxpayers of
    Wilmington foot the bill?

  • dumberer says:

    thing to do would be for the Wilmington tax payers to buy her daughter a house here in Wilmington. Maybe a nice townhouse right near that convention center thingy….whatever she wants.

  • Challengetheworld says:

    I don’t think he/she meant it to be subjective. It was just an expression, relax. If dummy is hostile, then you need some tougher skin.

    But none the less, Padgett needs to go. This couldn’t be a worse time to be crying wolf.

  • Guest2012 says:

    On earth would you call Me “Dummy”?

    I was being facetious when I was questioned her MOTIVES for traveling to Washington, DC, when her council position should keep her travel limited to where she supposedly governs.

    People who don’t deserve hostile sentiments should not be subject to them. Save your name-calling for those who deserve it! Laura is where I would begin, if I were you.

    JOIN THE CROWD, apparently… everyone feels NO LOVE LOST for HER!!!

  • Grand Ole Party says:

    If her daughter lives there then she should pay her own way. Kinda the whole point wouldn’t you say genius?

  • GuestLee says:

    I think you make a great point here, Guest 2012. I read nothing in your post that should subject you to that kind of name calling. You voiced your opinion, and the other guest could have expressed his also, without stooping so low.

  • Guest2012 says:

    I really didn’t take offense.

    I just want the UNINTELLIGENT connotation to be directed at the Greedy OPPORTUNIST Padgett as an incumbent who has been in office Way too long and THINKS taxpayers OWE her something.

    Now, That’s pretty dumb, right?

    Obviously, she perceives herself as a V.I.P. who is riding high with clouds of grandeur and senses of security in her aura. She needs to read the blogs to have a big ole bite of REALITY.

    Sooner than later, that taste is coming in DROVES from what I know.

    No money can solve for DUMB and Arrogant, even in Washington, ironically.

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