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Ad Hoc Committee on Board Member Expenses Recommends Changes

June 12, 2014
Montgomery County Board of Education President Phil Kauffman issued the following statement today (June 12, 2014) regarding the work of the ad hoc committee that is reviewing policies and practices related to Board member expenses. To see the agenda for committee’s June 12, 2014 meeting, click here:
 
The Ad Hoc Committee for Review of Board Processes and Guidelines on Board Expenditures met today (June 12, 2014) and began developing recommendations to bring to the full Board of Education for consideration. The members of the committee—myself, vice president Patricia O’Neill, and board member Michael Durso, chair of the Board’s Fiscal Management Committee—benchmarked the policies and practices used in other districts and began discussing specific areas of our current practices that should be considered for revision.

Among the guidelines that the ad hoc committee is considering bringing to the full Board are:

·  Allowing Board of Education members to use district-issued credit cards only for the purpose of authorized out-of-county travel, such as conferences and workshops. Eligible expenses incurred while conducting Board business locally would be paid by the Board member and then reimbursed, as long as proper documentation is provided;
·  Requiring preapproval for costs associated with Board members’ attendance at any out-of-county conferences, workshops, and meetings;
·  Requiring preapproval for tickets to attend local events;
·  Allowing county-funded hotel stays only for preapproved events that are more than 50 miles from the Carver Educational Services Center at 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville;
·  No longer allowing Board members to pay for the meals of other people, such as elected leaders, staff, or constituents;
·  Limiting the circumstances in which Board members can seek reimbursements for their own meals, and setting monetary caps on those meals that are aligned with State of Maryland limits; 
·  Requiring preapproval for out-of-county mileage reimbursement;
·  Fully enforcing and enhancing existing requirements that detailed receipts and information be provided regarding expenses before reimbursement is made;
·  Requiring quarterly reports on Board member expenditures and an annual review by an external auditor; and
·  Requiring annual training for Board members on expenditure guidelines.

The ad hoc committee also asked staff to propose language for inclusion in
the Board of Education Handbook to clarify authorization and approval procedures and to update expense forms so that it is clear to the Board members and the public what documentation and information is required in order to receive reimbursement.

The ad hoc committee anticipates having another meeting to continue its work and expects to submit its recommendations to the Montgomery County Board of Education in July.

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