Caddo Commission to vote on revised travel fund ordinance

Caddo Commission to vote on revised travel fund ordinance
(Source: KSLA News 12 Victoria Shirley)
(Source: KSLA News 12 Victoria Shirley)

CADDO PARISH, LA (KSLA) - A newly sworn-in Caddo Commissioner is making progress at revising the travel policy.

The current travel policy allows each commissioner $15,000 per year to attend education and training opportunities. But documents reveal that some of the commissioners have been taking advantage of the fund.

Since 2007, Caddo Parish Commissioners have spent nearly $500,000 on travel expenses.

Commissioner Steven Jackson introduced an ordinance to lower the travel fund from $15,000 to $8,000 per year. But it was sent to committee instead of being voted on.

On Tuesday, the committee made some proposed adjustments to the ordinance, which includes taking a dollar amount out of the ordinance.

Commissioner Lyndon Johnson argued that putting any dollar amount for the travel policy will draw criticism.

According to the proposed revision, each commissioner would be able to attend the following pre-approved annual meetings:

- The Louisiana Police Jury Association of Louisiana Convention

- Two additional national meetings sponsored by the National Association of Counties

- The National Association of Black County Officials or the American Counties for Energy Independence

- Louisiana Legislation Day at the capitol

In some of the documents revealed by KSLA News 12 on Monday, trips for Mardi Gras appeared as a charged travel expense for some of the commissioners.

But Johnson also argued that the Mardi Gras trip in D.C. was beneficial for lobbying and building relationships with national leaders.

During the meeting, commissioners discussed if travel money is misspent by lobbying for personal use, they would have to pay back the money used.

The revised proposed ordinance says any other trips not on the pre-approved list would have to be approved by the commission, except in emergency cases.

"I think today was a good compromise for the need of looking at the travel policy, making the change to it, then holding each one of the commissioners accountable for each others travel," said Commissioner Johnson.

Commissioner Jackson told KSLA News 12 he is satisfied with the changes and the revised ordinance has even tighter regulations than the one he initially proposed.

The revised ordinance is expected to be on the agenda for their meeting on March 3.

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