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Chamber picking up tab for City Hall travel expenses

Posted: February 5, 2014 - 7:35pm

It’s true that Conway’s 2014 budget doesn’t have any travel expenses, but that doesn’t mean that city officials aren’t getting where they need to go.

Conway Mayor Tab Townsell is in Washington, D.C., this week to meet with Federal Aviation Administration officials to make sure federal funding will be on schedule for the new Cantrell Field airport, and to meet with the city’s congressional delegation, Sens. John Boozman and Mark Pryor and Rep. Tim Griffin, about FAA and other federal funding for the new airport “which has to be constantly cultivated,” according to Chamber Senior Vice President Jamie Gates, who is also in D.C. this week.

The Conway Chamber of Commerce is paying for Townsell’s travel expenses on this trip, and Brad Lacy, president and CEO of both the Chamber and the Conway Development Corp. (CDC) said that the Chamber and CDC will continue to make sure that any city travel “that’s critical to economic development or community development” gets paid using privately raised money from the Chamber and/or CDC.

Travel is one expense that has been cut across-the-board for all city departments in response to projected “flat” sales tax revenue.

Lacy said that the Chamber or CDC has, as a practice, paid for city officials including city council members to go on “benchmarking” trips to other cities to learn about their successful projects, and would be able to “take up the slack” for city travel during 2014.

Some of Townsell’s travel expenses for this trip may also be reimbursed by FAA grant money.

(Staff writer Joe Lamb can be reached by email at joe.lamb@thecabin.net or by phone at 505-1277. To comment on this and other stories in the Log Cabin, log on to www.thecabin.net.)

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Elmer Fudd
3424
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Elmer Fudd 02/05/14 - 10:16 pm
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Did they

by any chance purchase a one-way ticket?

c'mon man
966
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c'mon man 02/06/14 - 09:31 am
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If only

there was a way to give you more than one thumbs-up. :)

fullupofmayor
418
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fullupofmayor 02/07/14 - 10:44 am
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lachowsj
5155
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lachowsj 02/06/14 - 08:35 am
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Ripe for abuse

There is no evidence of any wrongdoing here and I am not accusing anyone of ulterior motives. That said, there is something inherently wrong with trips, accommodations and travel expenses paid to an elected official by a source with its own political agenda. It would be much better to have these trips paid for and monitored directly through regular political channels.

Lilly03
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Lilly03 02/06/14 - 09:32 am
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I called City Hall last week

I called City Hall last week to inquire about those zoning changes and was informed the mayor was out of town on city business that week. So, who paid for that trip?
And the Chamber will start a membership drive again soon - how much of member dues, etc... go to pay for this type of travel expense?
Transparency is important to the people.

Elmer Fudd
3424
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Elmer Fudd 02/06/14 - 04:12 pm
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Lilly03

in that this is a privately funded group I doubt you ever find out anything.

fullupofmayor
418
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fullupofmayor 02/07/14 - 10:47 am
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So, who paid for that trip?

Last week was the Arkansas Municipal League Winter Conference Wednesday through Friday at Rogers. The City of Conway would have picked up the "Tab" on that one I'm sure.

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