Monday, January 17, 2011

Laura Padgett's Travel Habit

Laura Padgett has taken it upon herself to "put Wilmington on the map" with her many trips to conferences across the country, and even across the world.

Apparently, Ms. Padgett hasn't looked on a map recently, because Wilmington's already there.

Of course, Ms. Padgett doesn't mean "on a map" to the citizens of Wilmington. She means "on a map" to people like her, people who get their travel funded by the taxpayer.

As of early December, Padgett had spent $5,400 and counting for travel, well above her allotted $1,750 for the year.

[...]O'Grady said when planning this year's budget, council expected Padgett would go over her allotted travel amount because of her commitments to various national committees. He said he doesn't have any major travel planned and is OK with the way it's being spent.

Tomey, who serves as chairwoman of the city's audit committee, said use of the overflow accounts is not restricted and each member decides what works best for them.

"There are some members who need to travel more frequently," she added. (Uh oh, seems like Ms. Tomey is condoning this.)

[...]Padgett's most recent travel took her all the way to Central America. She joined other North Carolina leaders in a trip to Panama.

As a member of the National Multi-Modal Steering Committee, Padgett said it was important to see the Panama Canal expansion project, which plans to open new locks in 2014. (Yes, because I'm sure the Panama Canal has light rail.)

[...]Padgett's other trips centered around committee meetings for the league of cities and transportation boards.

If Ms. Padgett is traveling as a result of her involvement with boards such as the League of Cities, those boards should pay the fare, not the citizens of Wilmington.

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