Rancho Palos Verdes City Council
   

TO: HONORABLE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL

FROM: CITY MANAGER

DATE: FEBRUARY 17, 2004

SUBJECT: POLICY FOR TRAVEL AND MEETINGS

 

RECOMMENDATION

Adopt the revised City Council Policy No. 16: Travel and Meetings.

BACKGROUND

At the City Council Tactical Planning Session on January 10, 2004 the City Manager pointed out some inconsistencies of current law and practice with the City Travel Policy adopted in 1992 and last amended in 1999. The Council directed the City Manager to make the necessary revisions to the Policy and place it on a future Council agenda for approval.

DISCUSSION

The proposed revisions to the City Travel and Meetings Policy are primarily the elimination of the opportunity to receive "per diem" and "advance payment " for anticipated travel expenses. City Council members, Commission and Committee members and City staff will be required to submit receipts for reimbursement for expenses that are not prepaid by the City (such as conference registration and airline travel). Although reimbursement by receipt has been the practice for several years, the current Policy does not reflect this requirement.

In addition, minor changes have been made to the definition of conferences eligible for attendance to reflect actual practice; primarily of staff members who attend professional conferences that are authorized by the City budget. Finally, several redundancies have been eliminated and a typographical error has been corrected.

Respectfully submitted,

Les Evans

City Manager

Attachment: Amended City Council Policy No. 16: Travel and Meetings

CITY COUNCIL POLICY

NUMBER: 16

DATE ADOPTED/AMENDED: 09/29/92 (amended 7/21/98 and 5/18/99)

SUBJECT: Travel and Meetings

BACKGROUND:

The City Council recognized the need to establish a travel policy to assure the needs of the City are being met while limiting unnecessary expenditures.

POLICY:

It shall be the policy of the City Council that the following procedures shall be followed by the City Council. its Committee/Commission(s) and City staff with regard to travel.

A. For purposes of this policy, the term "local meeting" shall be used for all meetings within the greater Los Angeles area that do not require an overnight stay. The term "conference" shall be used for all meetings beyond the greater Los Angeles area that require an overnight stay to be on time for the start of the meeting. The greater Los Angeles areas shall be defined as a destination within 50 miles of Rancho Palos Verdes.

B. As part of the annual budget adoption, the City Council shall approve an amount for each Council member for routine travel expenses ("standard travel budget"). At the same time, the Council may also establish a discretionary travel pool. If established, an application by the Mayor or any Council member to use this discretionary pool may be approved by a majority vote of the Council, in addition to their standard travel budget when the Council member's individual standard travel budget is depleted.

C. All meetings, whether one day local meetings or conferences, must have budgeted funds available for reimbursement or advance registration. If funding is not available, the attendee must obtain approval from the City Council at a duly convened meeting and a budget adjustment must be made.

D. All local meeting and conference attendance shall be for City business affiliated matters only and eligible costs associated with such travel shall be charged against each individual Council member's travel budget, or charged against the discretionary pool described in section (B), when the Council member's individual standard travel budget is depleted.

Should a Council member serve on an official committee of the organizations listed under the "Conferences" heading, item (3), or be assigned by the City Council or the Mayor to attend a special meeting on behalf of the City, he or she is then eligible to have the costs associated with official or special committee meetings charged against that City Council member’s travel account, or charged against the discretionary pool described in section (B), when the Council member's individual standard travel budget is depleted.

E. Registration fees and expenses incurred at local meetings and conferences must be made under the following conditions to be reimbursed:

LOCAL MEETING:

  1. Local meetings include, but are not limited to, the following:
    1. Older Americans Recognition Luncheon
    2. Good Scout Awards Dinner
    3. Peninsula Seniors Events
    4. Peninsula Chamber of Commerce Events
    5. Torrance Area Chamber of Commerce Luncheon
    6. San Pedro Chamber of Commerce Luncheon
    7. CAP Dinner
    8. Palos Verdes Peninsula Land Conservancy Events
    9. California League of Cities Events
    10. Marymount College Events
    11. Any event where the City Council is presenting a proclamation
    12. The Peninsula Mayor’s luncheon

2) Generally, notification of intent to attend should be made prior to the scheduled departure in order to provide the necessary time for staff to make the appropriate arrangements.

3) Reimbursement or pre-registration for a local meeting shall be limited to the authorized attendees only. In cases where the City Council is presenting a proclamation, reimbursement shall be provided for each Councilmember attending the local meeting. Expenses for spouses and/or guests shall be paid for by attendees and are not reimbursable.

4) Meals associated with a particular meeting, such as the League of California Cities monthly meetings, or local events such as the Educator of the Year Awards banquet, are reimbursable, provided that supportive receipts or other documentation is submitted. It should be noted that the Attorney General and the District Attorney are interpreting the Government Code as precluding the City from reimbursing Council Members for their expenses in purchasing meals for third parties, such as constituents, legislators and private business owners, at meetings held to discuss legislation or other matters affecting the City.

5) The cost of parking in parking lots or parking garages is reimbursable, provided that supportive receipts or other documentation is submitted.

6) Except as noted above, any other travel expenses, including mileage, incurred by attendance at a local meeting that does not require an overnight stay shall be at the attendee’s expense. However, mileage reimbursement will be allowed for local meetings, which involve a round trip of more than 50 miles, provided that supportive documentation is submitted.

CONFERENCE:

1) Generally, notification of intent to attend must be-made prior to the scheduled departure in order to provide the necessary time for staff to make the appropriate arrangements.

2) Reimbursement for pre-registration for a conference shall be limited to authorized attendees only. Expenses for spouses and/or guests shall be paid by attendees and are not reimbursable. Requests for reimbursement should be submitted to the Finance Department within 30 days of the conclusion of the conference by the attendee.

3) Conference attendance is limited to sponsorship by the following organizations:

a) League of California Cities

b) California Contract Cities

c) Southern California Assn. of Governments

d) California Joint Powers Insurance Agency

e) South Bay Cities Council of Governments

f) Other organizations of which the City is a member or conferences for which funds have been approved in the annual operating budgets,

Attendance at conferences (whether in-state or out-of state) sponsored by other organizations not listed above, must be approved by the City Council at a duly convened meeting. If approval is not obtained prior to the event, approval for any such reimbursement may be obtained through approval of the warrant register.

4) Hotel charges will be allowed at the regular rate for a single occupant. If the hotel imposes a fee for an additional guest in the room, the attendee shall pay the difference.

5) Attendee is not eligible for reimbursement for hotel charges incurred prior to the official first day of a conference or other scheduled City business unless it would be an inconvenience for the attendee to arrive on the first day of a conference that begins in the morning. In these cases, the attendee shall be eligible for reimbursement for hotel charges for one night prior to the official first day of the conference.

6) Shuttle service to and from the airport and hotel is eligible for reimbursement. To be reimbursed for the direct costs, attendee shall submit all supportive receipts and request reimbursement using City expense report forms.

7) Rental car expenses may be reimbursed when it can be shown that the circumstances justify the need for such transportation. When choosing to rent a car over other forms of transportation, expenses claimed should be ordinary, necessary and for a reasonable amount.

8) Charges covering laundry, dry cleaning, room service, personal telephone calls, rental car expenses not covered by item (8) above and personal entertainment are not eligible for reimbursement. However, a phone call to a family member at home is allowed to announce the safe arrival and departure time of the attendee.

9) Air transportation for travel beyond the greater Los Angeles area shall be computed on the basis of the cost of coach class air travel, using the shortest and most direct route. If the attendee wishes to travel by automobile instead of by plane outside Southern California, he or she may do so. Reimbursement will be the prescribed mileage or the cost of round-trip airfare to and from the destination, which ever is the lowest cost.

F. Use of funds for City Committee/Commission member attendance at local meetings and conferences must be budgeted by the City Council. If travel is approved, the Committee/ Commission member(s) shall follow the standard travel procedures as outlined in the above procedures. Expenses claimed will be ordinary, necessary and for a reasonable amount.

G. Use of funds for City Staff attendance at local meetings and conferences must be budgeted by the City Council. If travel is approved, the City staff member(s) shall follow the standard travel procedures as outlined in the above procedures. Expenses claimed will be ordinary, necessary and for a reasonable amount.

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