County Officials Speak Out on Travel Reimbursements
Two Emery County elected officials spoke out about the Emery County Travel Rules and Regulations at the commission meeting on June 1.
The amended policy was approved on June 1 at the commission meeting. Commissioner Drew Sitterud said meetings with county elected officials and department heads were held and the travel rules and regulations were discussed.
Clerk Bruce Funk said that he feels the policy gives latitude to the elected officials as far as expenses for spouses are concerned. He said the policy needs definitive wording which defines the work area and what constitutes a paid meal in the work area. Funk said he feels there is abuse involved and there is nothing in the policy he can enforce and he has to send all claims through.
Dixie Swasey, county recorder said, "We are all honest, fair and reasonable people, but what is honest, fair and reasonable to one person is not for another. There has to be some definition. The way it is, its wide open for abuse."
Commissioner Ira Hatch made the motion to approve the amended Emery County travel rules and regulations. Commissioner Sitterud stepped down from the chair to second the motion. Commissioner Gary Kofford opposed the motion.
In the Emery County travel policy it states in Section III Reimbursement for Meals, no. 2, 'When appropriate to perform within the scope of county business, the traveler shall be reimbursed for expenses for meals and entertainment of others and for the meals and accommodations of spouses as approved by elected officials.'
Commissioner Kofford said, "As I interpret that policy, I feel like it should be very seldom that spouses should be included for meals at county expense.
"A situation might arise once in a while, while entertaining someone and their spouse, where your spouse would be included. I have no problem with the paying of legitimate employee expenses. But, spouse meals should not be included."
Even with the objections raised by the two elected officials and Commissioner Kofford's opposing vote, the amended travel policy was approved with the votes of Commissioners Hatch and Sitterud.
Objections to the policy of paying for spouses should be made known to the commission and they can readdress the policy in the future.