Aldermen update travel repay

Published 5:00 am Friday, September 21, 2001

Following election time questions over travel reimbursementexpenses, Brookhaven aldermen have adopted a new form that cityofficials say will address future reimbursement situations.

Aldermen approved the new form during Tuesday’s board meeting.City Accountant Verbalee Watts, who earlier recommended the boardadopt a new policy, said Thursday it appears the new form will besufficient.

“It looks like they’ve got all the bases covered,” Wattssaid.

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The new form is much more detailed than the one previouslyused.

On the new form, the person requesting reimbursement is asked toidentify the trip made and expenses for meals, lodging, mileage forprivate vehicle travel, rental vehicles or public carriers minusany travel payment advance received. The person is also asked toidentify whether the trip was in state or out of state.

The previous form sought only monthly travel totals with noinformation on destination requested.

New travel documentation was adopted from a form used by thestate. Ward 4 Alderman Bob Massengill, who presented the issue atTuesday’s meeting, said the new form is tailored to city needs.

“It’s primarily the same form used by the state, but it’sclearer and doesn’t include some of the things that are unique tothe state…,” Massengill said. “It covers every kind ofpossibility.”

Mayor Bill Godbold, who was at the center of travel expensereimbursement questions by mayoral opponents earlier this year,said Tuesday he approved of the new form. Aldermen adopted the newform with little discussion.

Earlier, after reviewing mayoral reimbursement records, Wattssaid the expenses were legal if they had been approved by theboard. When questions were raised regarding the his trips to coastcasino hotels and restaurants, Godbold said the expenses wereincurred while he was on city business and questioned the timing ofthe questions shortly before the general elections.

Watts approved of this week’s board action. She said theprevious form had not been revised as the city grew.

“It’s just something they needed to address,” Watts said.