Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Traveling across the Globe and Billing City's Taxpayers

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Traveling across the Globe and Billing City's Taxpayers

Article excerpt

The next time someone tries to tell you the city has a history of managing the taxpayers' money well, just ask about out-of-the-country travel.

On second thought, don't bother.

I already have.

Here's a list, from the Mayor's Office, showing some recent trips and the cost to taxpayers, during this time of rapidly escalating taxes and fees:

- Casey Griffis, police officer, to Ottawa, Canada, March 22-April 3, 2009, for a training course with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. $2,040.96.

- Art Graham, city councilman, to Panama City, Panama, April 16-19, 2009, Leadership Florida group. $2,012.69.

- John Peyton, mayor, to Paris, France, and Shannon, Ireland, June 1-20, 2009, for an international air show and meetings with SAFT lithium battery company officials. $3,170.90.

- Frederick Lewis, director of personnel and professional standards at the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office, to Toronto, Canada, June 28-July 1, 2009, for an international conference on "emotional intelligence." $1,663.78.

- Barbara Gubbin, library director, to Milan, Italy, Aug. 20-27, 2009, for World Library and Information Congress, $1,384.43.

- Charles Spencer, risk manager, to London, England, and Bermuda, Jan. 2-16, 2010, for meetings with insurance brokers. $3,951.69.

- Peyton to Panama City, Panama, April 19-22, for business development/trade meetings and the signing of a memorandum of understanding with Panama Canal officials. $1,382.52.

- Graham to Shannon, Ireland, June 12-17, 2010, part of Cornerstone delegation. $2,678.55.

- Michael Corrigan, city councilman, to Shannon, Ireland, June 12-16, 2010, part of Cornerstone delegation. $2,505.38.

- Christi Veleta, enforcement boards program administrator, to Calgary, Canada, June 21-25, 2010, for Air and Waste Management Association Conference. $2,530.86.

It seems to me that most of those trips were not exactly essential.

For example, did we really need to send one of our five horse-riding officers to Canada to train with the Mounties? …

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