Commissioners Pass Mileage Reimbursement Policy
The policy states that county pool vehicles should be used for travel outside the county and mileage inside the county will not be reimbursed.
The Carroll County Board of Commissioners approved a policy Thursday governing the use of mileage reimbursement.
The policy states that commissioners will use a pool vehicle for travel outside the county and should they choose to use a personal vehicle for travel outside the county, their mileage will be reimbursed at the rate county employees receive, 19 cents per mile. Additionally, commissioners will not be reimbursed for county-business travel within the county.
The commissioners voted 3-1 in favor of the policy during a regularly scheduled meeting. Commissioner Robin Bartlett-Frazier voted against the motion and Commissioner Richard Rothschild was not present.
Frazier said she felt like this policy was directed at her as she regularly claims reimbursement for mileage, for travel both in and out of the county.
"I take that as a direct affront to me," Frazier said.
"When I saw this on the agenda, I thought maybe you were going to suggest raising the reimbursement rate from 45 cents to 55 cents like the federal government does," Frazier said.
Commissioner Haven Shoemaker said that he believed that when the board decided to do away with per diems and cars for commissioners, that mileage reimbursements were also eliminated.
When the board took office in December 2010, the commissioners immediately did away with perks, including per diems and commissioners being issued a county car.
"I think we left a loophole out there that probably should be addressed, the issue of mileage reimbursement," Shoemaker said in Thursday's meeting.
Frazier said that she wanted to see the results of a study currently being conducted in the county to determine if it's more cost effective to reimburse for mileage or to use a county pool vehicle.
She said she believes it is more expensive to pay insurance on and maintain a fleet of vehicles than it would be to reimburse mileage for people using their own vehicles.
"I would suggest that you haven't really looked at the numbers," Frazier said. "I think it costs the taxpayer less to pay mileage for personal vehicles."
Shoemaker said that part of the issue also has to do with one of the board's governing principals-servant leadership. In their list of 10 governing principals, the commissioners said they would lead by example and discontinue the practice of accepting per diem payments, cars, and other such perks.
Commissioner Doug Howard said the board should have the same policy as county employees.
"Last week, we were talking about having the same policies as employees...," Howard said. "Employees use fleet vehicles or get paid 19-cents a mile. I don’t know why we wouldn’t have the same policy as employees."
Howard said the policy won't affect him personally as he has never requested mileage reimbursement.
Frazier said that she is doing nothing wrong in claiming mileage. She said it's a personal choice, just like it is when others submit reimbursements for food.
She said that Howard submitted for reimbursment for a meal he had when he had a meeting with leadership from other counties.
Shoemaker said his policy suggestion was not personal. He said he believes the policy should be the same for county employees and commissioners.
"I'm not casting judgment on any mileage claims that have been submitted up until now," Shoemaker said. "I'm just saying that going forward this is what we should do."
Watch the meeting on the county's meeting video archive.