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ONLY ON 3: Barfield travels a lot, but commission costs well under budget

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- There has been talk that New Hanover County Commission Chairman Jonathan Barfield has been traveling a lot and may have caused the county to overspend its travel budget. So we looked into Barfield's expenses.

New Hanover County Commissioners allotted themselves a little more than $22,000 for travel expenses in the 2010-2011 fiscal year. While Chairman Barfield did spend significantly more than other commissioners, it did not cause their travel budget to run over.

According to the county, in last fiscal year's travel budget, Barfield spent more than $7,000. Over the past two fiscal years, while some commissioners only spent a little more than $1,000, Barfield spent more than $12,000.

All-in-all the commission's travel expenses totaled about $14,000 in FY2010-2011, but that was about $8,000 under budget.

Commissioner Ted Davis spent just $87 last year, which was the smallest amount spent among county commissioners. Of course, Davis was away from work for a while after heart surgery.

Commissioner Rick Catlin says the money left over at the end of the year goes back into the county's general fund.

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While the overall budget

may not have been exceeded, Commissioner Barfield certainly went way over the amount budgeted for his position. Don't forget, the amount budgeted is to cover travel expenses for all of the Commissioners.

Mr. Barfield apparently took advantage of some Commissioners traveling less than budgeted and took the excess funds for his use.

Heaven forbid he might have liimited his travel to the amount budgeted for his position and allowed the left over funds to go into the General Fund. That's called furgality and staying within the budget.

How about a follow up? Where did he travel and for what purpose? And how, did the County specifically benefit from his travels? Can he point to one industry he called upon which is considering expansion to New Hanover County? Can he point to one project he inspected which is being considered for implementation in the County?

Or is this "feel good about me" travel similar to the City's own Ms.Padgett?

Haven't these folks heard

Haven't these folks heard about teleconferencing and distance learning?? Why is any travel needed for these commissioners? Their concerns are (or should be) local matters...

some travel is required

They have to go to Raleigh occasionally, and once-in-a-while there is a meeting in DC. SOME travel is required.

But, you're right, there shouldn't be much travel needed.

What did we, the taxpayers, get...

for the $7,000 Barfield spent other than bills totalling $7,000? I imagine Barfield will say he "got some good ideas" from his travails...oops...travels.