Accountability key for travel expenses

Published 12:05 am Sunday, November 16, 2014

Taxpayers place a great deal of trust in a handful of elected officials. At the local level, less than one dozen men and women are responsible for spending tens of millions of taxpayer dollars.

It’s a great deal of power and responsibility.

That’s why it’s so important that laws exist to allow the public good access to public records.

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That’s why periodically our news staff examines public information and reports the results to the community. In the past, that work has found abuse of county cell phones and wasted taxpayer money.

In today’s edition, we report the amount of travel reimbursement county supervisors have received in the past year.

In the grand scheme of the overall budget, the approximately $27,000 in travel reimbursement is a drop in the bucket, but when tax dollars are on the line, every penny spent needs to be properly accounted.

While no extremely overt abuses of reimbursement appear evident, we question why multiple supervisors must go to state and national conferences.

In most cases, logic suggests one supervisor could represent the interests of the entire board and cut the travel costs by 50 percent or more. Beyond that, why aren’t supervisors — and city aldermen for that matter — who travel required to submit a written report on what the travel accomplished upon the their return?

We’d be willing to publish the reports free of charge, if the public officials provide them.