Grand County adopts new expense policy
The Grand County Board of Commissioners has approved a new expense and reimbursement policy for county employees and officials.
Commissioners had delayed approval of the policy after some found its wording regarding approval for meal expenses ambiguous.
The board ultimately decided to keep the wording in question when it approved the policy at its Tuesday, June 23, meeting.
The section in question states that employees must obtain department head approval before incurring meal expenses.
The county’s auditor, McMahan and Associates LLC, suggested adding the language.
During the board’s June 16 meeting, County Attorney Anthony “Jack” DiCola said he took the wording to mean that employees must specifically ask permission before buying meals.
The board asked Assistant County Manager Ed Moyer to clarify the matter with the auditor.
At the board’s June 23 meeting, Moyer said the auditor recommended keeping the wording.
“He says while the directive is not critical it adds support to the overall message of always making responsible business decisions,” Moyer said.
Moyer said previously that when department heads approve travel for an employee, they are implicitly approving meal expenses incurred during travel.
The board’s approval of the policy marks the conclusion of a lengthy series of workshops and hearings in which officials and citizens discussed and debated how county employees should be reimbursed for expenses.
In addition to meal and incidental expenses, the policy addresses mileage reimbursements for employees and officials, including provisions that directly address allegations made last year that a commissioner was taking advantage of the county’s mileage reimbursement system.
Commissioner James Newberry has been charged with one misdemeanor count of official misconduct after it was alleged that he charged both Grand County and the Colorado River District for the same mileage.
The new county policy expressly prohibits employees and officials from seeking mileage reimbursements from both the county and another entity. It also encourages those who are eligible for double mileage to seek reimbursement from the non-county entity first.
County employees must also provide itemized receipts to receive expense reimbursements.
In the past, citizens argued that without itemized receipts, the county could not effectively monitor whether it was paying for non-reimbursable expenses like alcohol or excessive tips.
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