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TRAVEL EXPENSES AND PROCEDURES,
AFFILIATION WITH OUTSIDE ORGANIZATIONS,
CONFLICTS OF INTEREST

BACKGROUND

It has been several years since a Grand Jury reviewed the Board of Supervisors' travel expenses, membership affiliations or possible conflicts of interest. Therefore, the Grand Jury focused its attention on these areas.

METHODOLOGY

Documents examined:

  1. Travel expenses filed by Supervisors from 1995 through 1999
  2. California Form 700 - Statement of Economic Interests, from 1995 through 1999 submitted by the Supervisors
  3. California Form 490 - Officeholder, Candidate & Controlled Committee Campaign Statement, from 1995 through 1999, submitted by the Supervisors
  4. Board of Supervisors' Committee Assignment
  5. Amador County Municipal Code
  6. State of California Government Code
  7. "Committees and Members" list of outside organizations
  8. Amador County Policies and Procedures Manual

FACTS

  1. The Government Code, Section 24000, Enumeration of Officers, states that as elected officials, Board members are considered Officers of the County.
  2. Section 2.04.110, Reimbursement of Expenses Incurred in Discharging Duties of the County's Municipal Code states, "Each Supervisor shall be reimbursed for his/her expenses incurred in the performance of his/her duties as a supervisor. The reimbursable expenses shall be telephone expenses, mileage for each mile traveled, and actual expenses for food and lodging ... "
  3. County Policy 2-700, Section 9.A(2), Reimbursements, states: "Travel between home and office is not reimbursable."
  4. Board members are reimbursed for travel between home and the office.

CONCLUSIONS

  1. Board members are County Officers as specified in Section 24000 of the Government Code. County Policy 2-700, Section 9.A(2), which prohibits travel reimbursement between home and office, is in direct conflict with Section 2.04.110 of the County's Municipal Code, which allows it.
  2. No other problems were found with travel expenses.
  3. No improprieties were found in California Forms 700, "Estimate of Economic Interests."
  4. No improprieties were found in California Forms 490, "Office Holder Candidate and Controlled Committees Campaign Statement."
  5. No apparent conflicts of interest were found while reviewing documentation of Board members' affiliations with other organizations.
  6. The Grand Jury believes it is reasonable that Supervisors be reimbursed for travel between home and office.

RECOMMENDATION

The Board of Supervisors should amend County Policy Number 2-700, Section 9.A(2) to coincide with the Amador County Municipal Code, Section 2.04.110. This amendment will clearly define travel policies covering mileage between home and office and remove any inference of impropriety.


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