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Orange County Focus

TUSTIN : City Passes Tougher Expense Guidelines

November 08, 1993|BERT ELJERA

While on official business, city officials and employees may not spend more than $6 for breakfast, $10 for lunch and $25 for dinner under toughened travel and expense guidelines approved by the City Council last week.

Daily travel expenses also may not exceed $50 per day, according to the guidelines intended to control expenses by city officials and employees attending conferences, meetings or workshops.

"There is nothing radically new," said City Manager William A. Huston, "but we now require more rigorous reporting" of expenses, including additional supporting documentation and receipts.

The guidelines, which take effect immediately, apply to all employees, elected officials and those serving on city boards.

Also included are guidelines on the use of city credit cards, vehicles, telephones, cellular phones and membership in service clubs or professional associations.

Adoption of the guidelines comes 10 months after allegations surfaced about improper use of city credit cards by top officials at the Police Department. A city audit indicated there was no abuse but about one-third of the charges were unaccompanied by explanations.

In December, the council ordered all city credit cards turned in to Huston. Currently, only Huston and Assistant City Manager Christine Shingleton are authorized to use city credit cards.

The allowances for meals is somewhat flexible, Huston said, and do not include the cost of tips.

"Of course, we don't want a city employee attending a Washington conference walking to McDonald's to save a few dollars and then getting mugged," Huston said.

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