Tuesday, May 02, 2017
NorCo Council's Boring Expense Reports Sets Example
I have filed several right-to-know requests about county spending on travel, meals and other expenses. You see, when an HR Director like Amy Trapp blows $800 on a popcorn machine, you start asking questions.
I've already told you that, since 2014, Northampton County has spent $347,144 for hotel stays, travel expenses, meals and conferences. I've pointed out that Corrections Director Dan Keen has spent far too much time on the road. In the span of just two years, he's taken 39 trips,many of which were over-nighters. Through these RTKs, I've learned that Executive John Brown was MIA for much of 2016, when he was running for state auditor general. He submitted only about half as many expense reports in 2016 than he did in either 2015 or 2014.
Hotel stays and travel have exploded under Brown So how about Council?
These nine people could charge the County mileage every time they go to a meeting, but don't. They could charge mileage for different events they are urged to attend, like the Lehigh Valley Planning Commission, Farmland Preservation Board, Airport Authority, visits to 911, Gracedale, Airport Authority or the various Councils of Government. But they don't. In fact, they only seek reimbursements when they go to CCAP (County Comm'r Ass'n of PA) conferences, which are usually twice a year.
Between 2014 and present, $5,239.61 has been spent on for hotel stays by some Council members. Other than that, Council members only file for mileage and an a occasional meal for CCAP, if that. It adds up to another $2,508.08 between 1/1/14 and 3/25/17.
Total amount? $7,837.70.
Bob Werner, who goes to these conferences, has never sought reimbursement for his travel, meals or even for hotel stays. He told me he goes right home. But I think he spends most nights knocking on Peg Ferraro's door.
No means No, Bob.
Glenn Geissinger is another fellow who seeks no reimbursements for his travel expenses, though he has allowed the County to pay for his hotel.
Seth Vaughn also has no expenses, but that's because he's a no-show. He phones in to most committee hearings, so do you honestly think he'd be at CCAP?
I thought for sure I'd nail Ken Kraft. Last year, he dropped $233.10 at 1700 degrees, a fancy Harrisburg steakhouse. That same day, he dropped another $21 at the Ad Lib Kitchen and Bar. He must have liked it because he was back two more times and dropped $131.52 on one of his visits.
But guess what? He had to pay the tab himself. The county refused to reimburse him for anything more than his per diem allotment.
I tried my best to find a charge for the Girls, Girls, Girls massage parlor or at least a lap dance, but nada. In fact, the bastard brought his wife.
What kind of candy ass union agent are you, Ken? Jimmy Hoffa would be turning in his grave, if they could ever find it.
The example set by Council, unfortunately, has gone unnoticed in some other departments. I'll have more as I continue my review.