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New budget time provides chance to resolve old issue

As new Brookhaven officials discuss their revenue and spendingplans for the new year, they have another chance to look into anold thorny issue raised during the recent elections.

Readers will remember that most city races went smoothly, butthe mayor’s race was overshadowed with controversy in its finalweeks. The leftover issue involves the city’s procedure for travelexpense reimbursement, and questions raised by opponents of MayorBill Godbold regarding the amount of mileage, hotel lodging andmeal reimbursements paid to the mayor.

We still believe that questions raised by former Aldermen JohnRoberts and Henry Newman about the mayor’s mileage and travelallowance have merit. Documentation we have seen does showexcessive travel and lots of trips to the Mississippi GulfCoast.

City officials are scheduled to meet twice this week: Monday fora work session on the budget and again Tuesday night for theregular meeting of the mayor and board. Budget time presents cityofficials with a golden opportunity to address the lingering travelexpense situation.

Officials will be discussing how they plan to spend taxpayers’money. Those taxpayers deserve to know what is going on with thetravel issue and how it will be resolved.

But no one on the new board, it seems, is willing to ‘take thebull by horns’ when it comes to travel expense. The subject has notbeen mentioned since the new board took office in July.

The questions must be answered.

The new board should make a review of the expense reimbursementpolicy a top priority.

Again we urge them to go one step further and ask the StateAudit Department to audit the previous board’s expenditures.

Some considered politics as the reason behind the travel issuesurfacing during the election.

It’s not politics now.

Now it’s time for the board to address the travel issue once andfor all. Budget time gives them that chance.