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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — With these tough economic times, people are thinking twice when it comes to spending money, but Wilmington City Councilwoman Laura Padgett has had no problem running up her travel expense tab and even exceeding the limit. Tuesday night City Council voted unanimously to let Padgett dip into some more cash, but one member says it’s the first and last time it will happen.

“I’m just telling you I think we have a budget, and we need to try and live within that, and this year I don’t have a problem with what Ms. Padgett said, and Mr. Sparks agreed with that, if there is money left over to dip into that, but after this year I would not be in favor of it,” said Wilmington City Councilman Charlie Rivenbark. “If you’re going to be on these boards and commissions, you need to make other arrangements.”

Rivenbark said it is what it is. If you’re elected to serve the people, you have to be willing take on responsibilities even if it hits your own personal wallet.

“These are extraordinary times, and I want to recognize that and I’m not asking to do more than other people or to misspend the city’s money, and with that in mind I would like to see an amendment to the resolution that says something to the effect that I will spend my own money to finish the commitment I made, but when we get to the end of June, if there is money still in the travel fund that has not been used, I would have first dibs in being reimbursed,” Padgett said.

City council members, like Padgett, joined committees to help diversify the city, but now she says it’s coming at much too high a cost. In Tuesday’s vote, council agreed to let Padgett dip into the city’s budget if any money is left in it at the end of the year.

City Manager Sterling Cheatham sees no problem with Tuesday’s vote.

“We learn so much when we go out and see how other communities are dealing with the same issues that we’re dealing with, and we’re able to transport a lot of those back, and we can focus on creating things that are new as opposed to recreating the wheel,” he said.

Cheatham said travel is essential to creating a unique and prosperous community. City council is allotted $19,000 dollars for travel expenses. Padgett already reached her allotment for the year.


Comment on this Story

  • Guest

    I am sorry I don’t feel sorry for the council. Thank you Rivenbark for finally standing up for the people. My husband works 3 jobs to make ends meet and yes I work also. We have a budget, and no matter how much I want to go out and help others I have to still pay my bills before helping others. IF THE COUNCIL AND THE COUNTY COMMISSIONER ETC. REALY ARE FOR THE PEOPLE WHY DO WE NEED TO PAY THEM ANYTHING….THAT IS IF YOU REALLY ARE THERE FOR THE PEOPLE!!!!WAKE UP TAX PAYERS FOR THE NEXT ELECTION……CHANGE IS ON THE WAY!!

  • Commonsensenotcommontoday

    In addition to being a champion jet-setter, running up massive travel bills with little to show for it, she is the guardian angel of that bottomless well of red ink, Wave Transit.

  • Guesting game

    Really? Need to travel to other places and see how they do it. I agree with an earlier post, make a phone call or teleconference. Oh wait, doing so might eliminate the need for that travel money allotment and then council would have to stay here and work. Just about the entire council needs to go. When I say GO, I don’t mean go on to be a county commissioner.

  • Rufus

    Padgett must think she is another Beverly Perdue, with all that travel on taxpayer expense. She needs to resign immediately.

  • GuestLee

    OK, so city employees haven’t gotten a raise in…going on 3 years. But city council can afford to go on trips amounting to $19,000 a year times those same 3 years = $57,000. They seem to be able to find money for what THEY want, but don’t seem to put much value on their employees.

  • Protest Padgett!

    We need to all stand up for this city and go downtown and protest this greedy woman!!! Lets start a large protest and demand her resignation! Who is with me? Lets start a facebook page to get support!

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