07/03/05 — Gray to pay air fare to Hawaii

View Archive

Gray to pay air fare to Hawaii

By Barbara Arntsen
Published in News on July 3, 2005 2:00 AM

Wayne County Commis-sioner Bud Gray will pay out of his own pocket for his airline ticket to attend the annual convention of the National Association of County Commissioners in Honolulu in July.

Clerk Marcia Wilson will pay for her entire trip, including accommodations, and will take vacation time while she is on the trip.

Ms. Wilson said that she decided on her own to pay for the trip herself, and that no one had asked her to pay for it.

Gray said that he had always planned to pay for part of the trip because "it seemed like the right thing to do."

Commissioners have come under criticism for choosing to attend the annual convention because of the expense involved in taking such a long trip at the same time that they were deciding to increase the tax rate.

They approved a 7.5-cent increase in the rate earlier this week.

Commissioner John Bell decided in June to back out of attending the convention, which is held each year at various locations around the country. Bell said he canceled because of illness in his family.

Commissioner Atlas Price had signed up to attend the convention, but canceled his plans last month.

Commissioner Andy Anderson and Chairman J.D. Evans still plan to attend the convention.

The county has already paid $1,300 for plane tickets for Price and Bell, which is non-refundable. They could reimburse the county for the tickets, if they decide to use the ticket for a personal trip.

The entire trip will now cost Wayne taxpayers about $7,500.

Evans has said he believes it is important the county be represented at the conference. Attending the work sessions will help commissioners make better decisions on a variety of issues, he said.

Anderson has consistently attended the national conventions, and said they are worth the expense, "if you go and really take advantage of all the sessions."

About 4,000 commissioners from across the U.S. are expected to attend the conference, which will be held July 15-19.