FAIRFIELD — County supervisors can charge their travels for work-related business to the county, with the amount during 2012-13 totaling about $19,500 for all five Board of Supervisors districts.
But they don’t have unlimited travel expense accounts. They must stay within their budgets or risk paying the difference themselves as they travel to such destination as California State Association of Counties conferences and Washington, D.C., conference and lobbying trips.
For the fiscal year 2012-13 that ended June 30, Board Chairwoman Linda Seifert spent $6,708 and Supervisor John Vasquez $4,750. Supervisor Jim Spering doesn’t file for travel expenses, choosing to pay himself.
District 1 travel expenses for this time period are split between Supervisor Erin Hannigan and former Supervisor Barbara Kondylis and came to $4,534. District 5 expenses are split between Supervisor Skip Thomson and former Supervisor Mike Reagan and came to $3,532. Hannigan and Thomson took office in January.
Each supervisor has an overall district budget of approximately $300,000 to pay for expenses ranging from salaries and benefits for themselves and their aides to office supplies to travel. The actual amount varies depending on such factors as longevity pay for supervisors and their aides.
Auditor-Controller Simona Padilla-Scholtens said supervisors must stay within their overall district budgets.
If a supervisor cannot find money for their travel expenses within their district budgets, they must either pay the cost overruns themselves or go to their peers at a Board of Supervisors meeting and ask for more money. Padilla-Scholtens said she does not authorize reimbursements for travel cost overruns.
The types of trips supervisors take for county business vary.
For example, Hannigan claimed $2,285 for traveling to the National Association of Counties conference in Washington, D.C., from March 2-6. That included air fare, hotel and registration, according to county records. County officials on the trip also talked to federal legislators.
Thomson claimed $1,341 for a Feb. 4-6 trip to Washington, D.C., for the Delta Counties Coalition. The coalition is trying to influence plans by the state and federal governments for the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, plans that include building a “twin tunnels” water delivery system and restoring thousands of acres of tidal wetlands in Solano County. Expenses included $673 for the hotel, $467 for travel and $175 for meals.
Some expenses are far smaller. Seifert charged $45 for registration to the May 8 Vallejo Convention & Business Bureau’s annual Tourism Board of Directors installation meeting.
Seifert’s travel expenses included $765 for mileage and Reagan’s included $337 for mileage. Padilla-Scholtens said the $10,400 annual automobile allowance that supervisors receive is for in-county travel and that supervisors can claim mileage for trips outside of the county.
For example, Seifert charged $35.51 in mileage, tolls and parking for an April 18 trip to Oakland for an Association of Bay Area Governments meeting – she is the county’s ABAG representative. She drove 400 miles in November 2012 to attend a California State Association of Counties conference in Long Beach, then had the county reimburse her for whatever would have been cheaper, driving or flying. The amount came to $227.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.