City spent $35K for travel, training

, City spent $35K for travel, training, TravelWireNews | World News, TravelWireNews | World News

ASHLAND The City of Ashland reimburses employees for travel costs and pays for their training, and 92 percent of the money spent this year — excluding for police and fire — has gone toward three departments.

The city spent $35,297 on travel and training for employees in the departments of engineering and utilities, community and economic development and human resources through July 31. Recipients have been reimbursed for work-related trips as far as Washington, D.C., and as close as Huntington.

The Daily Independent received 620 pages of expense reports for travel and training from the city through an open records request.

City department heads assign their employees to attend seminars, conferences and courses they believe will improve their job performance. The city pays for lodging if the trip requires overnight stay.

Employees receive 53.5 cents per mile — the federal standard for businesses — if they drive a personal car for city business. They also receive a per diem or reimbursement for meals.

Members of the city commission — with the exception of Commissioners Marshall Steen and Matt Perkins — receive an auto allowance of $175 per month.

Expense highlights per department through July:

Mayor and Commissioners (1,351.36 total)

Commissioner Matt Perkins

n Jan. 17: $242.07 for travel to Frankfort, and $414.39 for hotel cost during a three-day city officials training hosted by the Kentucky League of Cities.

n Feb. 10: $204.01 for travel to Frankfort to meet with legislative body.

n The city commission approved a $516 travel reimbursement request by Perkins last month after he went to Owensboro for a day trip to meet with the city’s mayor about economic development projects. But Perkins later decided not to cash the check and returned it.

Commissioner Amanda Clark

n $414.39 for hotel stay during three-day Kentucky League of Cities training in Frankfort.

Mayor Steve Gilmore

n April 5: $76.50 per diem for day trip to Louisville area to meet with a business owner in late March.

Human Resources ($4,316.65)

HR Director Sean Murray

nFeb. 15: $356.24 travel advance to attend two-day seminar on human resources law in Frankfort, including hotel stay. The seminar cost $575.

Alcoholic Beverage Control Officer Kandi Hale

n March 21: $147.66 travel advance for a two-day healthcare training seminar in Newark, Ohio.

n May 26: $269.67 for ABC training seminar in Hebron.

n May 31: $345.20 for three-day ABC conference in Frankfort.

Risk Manager Michael Adkins

n Feb. 7: $225 for a Kentucky League of Cities Insurance Services conference on risk and safety.

n April 24: $750 for a course on Occupational Safety and Health Administration rules on construction safety through Eastern Kentucky University. The course was between June 6 and 9.

n June 14: $317 travel reimbursement for OSHA training.

Department of Community and Economic Development ($13,980)

The city merged its economic development department with its Department of Planning and Community Development in February and named it the Department of Community and Economic Development.

Economic Development Division ($6,806.58)

Economic Development Specialist Katherine Utsinger

n May 15: $1,314.73 reimbursement for travel for a basic economic development course in Nashville, Tennessee. The total included cost of lodging, per diem, parking and mileage. The four-day course offered by the University of Tennessee cost $695.

Department Director Chris Pullem

Pullem travels outside the city for his job more frequently than most employees, as his chief responsibilities include recruiting businesses and attending meetings with economic development groups and legislators.

n Jan. 12: $350.96 reimbursement for trip to Morehead for aerospace meeting; meetings in Frankfort.

n Jan. 26: $234 for trip to Huntington to meet with Huntington Area Development Council, and Lexington to meet with consulting firm city hired to plan the city’s Tax Increment Financing district. The TIF was created in part to provide about $4.5 million in incentives for hotel developers to turn the Ashland Plaza Hotel into a Marriott brand.

n Feb. 10: $191.35 reimbursement for travel to the Kentucky League of Cities legislative meeting.

n Feb. 24: $229 for travel to Frankfort and Lexington to support House Bill 183. The bill, signed into law, allowed the City of Ashland to lower its seating requirement for restaurants to sell alcohol from 100 to 50.

n March 10: $196.84 for travel to Morehead, Barboursville and Grayson on three separate days. The trip to Morehead was for a meeting based on the aerospace industry. The trip to Barboursville involved a city-related economic development project, and the Grayson trip was for a meeting at the EastPark Industrial Park.

n March 29: $199.52 for travel to Frankfort to meet with TIF consulting firm.

n April 24: $203.26 for meetings in Huntington and Morehead, and South Shore to visit the site of the future Braidy Industries aluminum rolling mill.

n May 11: $201.56 for meeting regarding hotel development in Lexington.

n May 19: $217.28 for travel to Frankfort for a meeting regarding Braidy Industries, and a meeting in Lexington with TIF consulting firm.

n June 5: $196.31 for travel to Morehead and Huntington for meetings.

n June 14: $450 travel advance for trips to Frankfort and Columbus, Ohio. The Frankfort trip included a meeting with the state to request the establishment of a state TIF district in Ashland. The trip to Columbus involved an economic development endeavor.

n July 12: $515.40 for two days of travel to Lexington and one day of travel to Frankfort for meetings with TIF consulting firm, and state officials to discuss creation of a state TIF.

n July 28: $900 travel advance for three-day trip to Washington to meet with U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, (R-Ky.), and U.S. Congressman Thomas Massie, (R-Ky.)

Planning and Code Enforcement Division ($3,121.82)

n Feb. 10: $340 for four employees to attend a one-day Code Administrators Association of Kentucky training session. Each employee received a $27 travel advance to attend the training in Lexington.

n $472 for two employees to attend an EPA and Housing and Urban Development training seminar in Cincinnati.

n March 27: $398 for two employees to take an online course on residential mechanical inspection.

n March 29: $243 for Building Inspector Sean Miller to stay at the Kentucky Dam Village resort park for a four-day conference for Code Administrators. The conference cost $185.

City Planner Osei Amo-Mensah

n May 30: $337.25 for travel to an American Planning Association conference in Cumberland. The conference cost $200.

Voucher and Section 8 (Housing and Urban Development): $2,280.11

n The majority of the $2,280 was for online training courses related to public housing rules.

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG): $1,773.84

n April 12: $157.29 reimbursement for Carol Jackson, a member of the Ashland Human Rights Commission, to attend fair housing training in Frankfort.

n April 28: $869.65 travel advance for Section 8 Voucher/Finance Coordinator Lorraine Woolery to attend HUD training in Atlanta between May 1 and May 4.

Department of Engineering and Utilities ($14,511 including costs of refueling city vehicles)

Water Distribution Division ($5,146.52)

n Feb. 2: $1,014.98 training in Lexington for two employees.

n May 4: $219.30 reimbursement for travel to Dale Hollow Lake State Resort Park for employee Dale White for training course.

n May 1: $512 for travel advance to Milwaukee for two employees to attend badger meter training.

n June 29: $876.92 advance for employee training at Dale Hollow State Park.

Water Plant: $4,515.26

n Jan. 20: $204 advance for employee Brad Sparks to travel to Frankfort for lab certification training. The training cost $550.

n April 3: $413 total advances for employees LJ Moore and Sam Nunley to travel to Louisville for training on surface water treatment. The classes and exams cost $298.70.

Engineering ($1,416.93)

n March 23: $201.76 reimbursement for employee Kevin Hill’s travel to Georgetown for training.

n May 26: $510 for online training courses for employees.

Sewer Plant: $878.80

Utility Director: $25.50

Public Works: $1,820 for employees in streets divison to take classes and gain qualifications for traffic control.

Finance Department

n Finance: $833.03

n Utility Cashier: $38.52

n Ashland Bus System: $894

Recreation and Pool: $420

City Clerk: $345.20.