Sunday, April 18, 2010
TRAVEL-SLASHING COUNCILMAN: Faces campaign rhetoric test
COLUMBIA, 4/18/10 (Beat Byte) -- Elected on a platform of slashing travel budgets during this difficult economy, Third Ward Columbia City Councilman Gary Kespohl faces his first test tomorrow night, when the newly-formed Citizens Police Review Board requests $4,400 to send two members to a five-night September conference in Seattle, Washington.
Transforming conferences into "taxpayer-funded spending junkets" and highlighting fancy destination cities such as Seattle in a political attack ad featuring Johnny Cash singing "I've Been Everywhere," Kespohl's 2010 City Council campaign was so critical of opponent Karl Skala's city-funded travel the Columbia Missourian posted a reader question, "Should a moratorium be put on city travel expenses?"
Kespohl promised to re-allocate $25,000 from the Council's travel budget -- ostensibly far more important than that of a citizen commission -- to
downtown safety cameras.
Monday night, the Police Review Board will request a travel budget for a single excursion -- to the National Association for Civilian Oversight of Law Enforcement (NACOLE) conference -- that represents nearly 25% of Skala's travel expenditures for an entire year -- $17,000.00. At a whopping $2,200 per person, the Police Review Board travel request includes $200/person/night for a hotel; $500/person airfare; and the same $42/day per diem that landed Skala in hot water.
"On his Web site, Kespohl says he will not use taxpayer funds for any trips," the Columbia Tribune reported last month.
Written by Michael Martin
Labels: City Hall
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