[Adopted 12-19-2016 by Ord. No. 993]
The Illinois General Assembly enacted Public Act 99-604, known as the "Local Government Travel Expense Control Act," which becomes effective on January 1, 2017. In order to provide additional transparency and accountability regarding the expenditure of public funds, the City Council of the City of El Paso desires to establish a more detailed and formal procedure for submitting, reviewing and approving expenses and travel reimbursements. The City of El Paso wishes to ensure that elected and appointed officials and employees who travel on official business will be treated fairly and reimbursed at rates which are reasonable, consistent with actual, necessary costs, and which will ensure the promotion of economy in City government. The purpose is not to create an additional source of income beyond the official's or employee's compensation.
Editor's Note: See 50 ILCS 150/1 et seq.
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
- Includes, but is not limited to, shows, amusements, theaters, circuses, sporting events, or any other place of public or private entertainment or amusement, unless ancillary to the purpose of the program or event.
- PUBLIC BUSINESS
- Expenses incurred in the performance of a public purpose which is required or useful for the benefit of the City to carry out the responsibilities of City business.
- Any expenditure directly incident to official travel by employees and officers of the City or by wards or charges of the City involving reimbursement to travelers or direct payment to private agencies providing transportation or related services.
Prior authorization for all trips shall be obtained. The travel shall be approved by department heads, or in the case of travel by department heads, the travel shall be approved by the Director of Public Service. All travel by the Director of Public Service shall be approved by the City Council. All travel shall be approved prior to the beginning of travel. Said approval may be oral, but, where requested, the same shall be in writing. Planned travel by the City Council or the Mayor shall be approved by the majority of the remaining City Council members.
All travel shall be by the most direct route and City-owned vehicles shall be used whenever possible. All travel shall be by the most economical mode of transportation available, considering travel time, costs and work requirements.
The full cost of public transportation is recoverable if it is the chosen mode of transportation by the department heads or the City Council.
When the use of a privately owned vehicle is necessary or desirable in consideration of the City's travel policy and expenditures, it may be used at the reimbursement rate given in the current year's Internal Revenue Service provision for determination of mileage for business purposes.
Mileage will be payable to only one of two or more individuals traveling in the same vehicle. The names of all travelers and their employing department shall be listed on a travel voucher, along with a travel log that indicates date, purpose of trip and total mileage.
No mileage payments are allowed for City Council members or department heads or employees to attend committee meetings and City Council meetings.
When traveling outside of the City of El Paso, reimbursement for meals and tips shall be allowed in accordance with the current year's per-diem rates established by the Government Services Administration (GSA) within the continental United States. These rates hall govern lodging, meals and incidental expenses as published by GSA. In the event the actual cost of the meals is less than the per-diem rates published by GSA, the reimbursement shall be limited to the actual cost of the meals. A travel log must be submitted with the request for reimbursement which substantiates the business purpose, the travel dates, the applicable meals to be reimbursed for each day, and the place of the travel. Meals and tips will not be reimbursed if the cost of meals for seminars or official meetings is included in the registration fee. A copy of the meeting brochure must be submitted with the travel log at the time of request for reimbursement.
Alcoholic beverages are excluded from reimbursement.
Any exceptions to the foregoing requirements shall be presented in a written letter request to the department heads or to the City Council in the case of department heads or the Director of Public Service requesting reimbursements.
[Amended 2-6-2017 by Ord. No. 994]
Lodging expenses shall be reimbursed at the federal per-diem rates unless the actual expenses are less than the cost of the lodging. The person traveling shall always seek and use, when available, the economy room rate offered by the hotel.
Receipts are required to be submitted with the travel vouchers to support the accommodation expenses claimed.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, a person staying in the least expensive available room in a hotel or motel in which a conference or meeting he or she is attending is being held will be reimbursed for the actual lodging costs, provided the person has received the prior written approval of the department head or the City Council. The person shall confirm at the check-in time that the room is the least expensive available, and the person shall certify the above on his or her travel voucher.
No reimbursement of travel, meal or lodging expenses incurred by a City employee or officer shall be authorized unless the travel, meal and lodging expense reimbursement request form, attached hereto and made a part hereof, has been submitted and approved. All documents and information submitted with the form shall be subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (5 ILCS 140/1 et seq.).
Editor's Note: The request form is available from the City offices.
Expenses for travel, meals and lodging of any officer or employee that exceed the maximum reimbursement allowed under the regulations adopted under this article, or any member of the corporate authorities of the City of El Paso, may only be approved by roll call vote at an open meeting of the corporate authorities of the City of El Paso. However, in the event of an emergency or other extraordinary circumstances, the corporate authorities may approve more than the maximum allowable expenses set forth above.
The City of El Paso shall not reimburse any elected official, employee or officer for any activities which would be considered entertainment. Activities which would otherwise be considered entertainment, but which are excluded from the prohibition on reimbursement due to being ancillary to the purpose of the program or event, may be reimbursed in accordance with the provisions of this article.
The following items may be reimbursed by the City if authorized by the department head or the City Council: taxicab fares, parking fees, bridge, road and tunnel tolls, storage of baggage, car rentals and tips for parking attendants and baggage handling.
Any miscellaneous expenses in excess of $20 shall be accompanied by a receipt.
Any exceptions to the above travel policy regulations may be granted when necessary to meet special circumstances in the best interest of the City. Any request for an exception to the above regulations shall be presented in letter form to the department head or City Council for approval.
No request for reimbursement shall be made for items of expenditure, in connection with travel, that are billed directly to the City. Travel expense items billed to a credit card should accompany an appropriately signed and completed City voucher for reimbursement.
Business meals and expenses. Business breakfasts, lunches and dinners for both City employees and appropriate guests, which guests are involved in the course of conducting City business, shall be deemed a legitimate expense for City officials, employees and appropriate City guests.
Any misrepresentation or misuse of this policy shall be grounds for disciplinary action.