Council Ends Payout Policy

No More Payments Without Receipts

WINNSBORO – A long-standing and controversial policy was laid to rest Monday night as Fairfield County Council voted unanimously at their regularly scheduled meeting, held in the Fairfield Central High School auditorium, to change the way they receive monthly payments for mileage and other expenses.

In addition to their base salary of $15,000 a year (plus an additional $4,800 for the chairmanship and an additional $3,000 for the vice chairmanship), Council has, since July of 2010, been receiving a monthly allocation of $795 for expenses. Those expenses included $195 a month for their “computer fund,” $210 a month for mileage, $125 a month for office expenses and $265 a month for a “Blackberry allowance.” Council has been under increasing public pressure in recent months to reduce what some have labeled “frivolous” and “irresponsible” spending, as well as to adopt a policy that requires Council members to produce receipts for expenses covered under the monthly allocations – something they had not been required to do under the now former policy.

That pressure continued during the early going of Monday’s meeting as the public once again weighed in on recreation spending and urged Council members Mary Lynn Kinley (District 6), Mikel Trapp (District 3) and Chairman David Ferguson (District 5) to repay the more than $26,000 each they had received over the years in lieu of supplemental health insurance. And Beth Jenkins pressed Council to end their policy of taking $795 a month in expense allocations without having to produce a receipt.

Monday night, it appeared as though Jenkins and others had gotten at least one of their wishes, and a roar of jubilant applause erupted in the auditorium as Milton Pope, interim County Administrator, read his recommendation to Council.

“One of the things Council had asked me, in my capacity, to look at, was the process of our allocation process,” Pope said. “And after several weeks of looking at this, among other things in the County, I would forward you this recommendation:

“Pursuant to the existing administration’s policy regarding expense allocations, based on several weeks of research,” Pope read, “I recommend the Council end the expense allocation policy as implemented by the former administration.”

Pope said his staff would present a new allocation policy to Council at their next regular meeting on Oct. 14.

“In essence, Mr. Chairman, what this would do is, those allocation expenses that were previously implemented, it is our recommendation that we should terminate that policy and implement a new policy which is strictly based upon actual reimbursement,” Pope explained.