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Mayor spends less than allotted expense budget

December 30, 1998|By DAN KULIN /Staff Writer

Hagerstown Mayor Robert E. Bruchey II spent less than the $3,000 set aside for the mayor's expense account during the last fiscal year, according to city finance officials.

The revised calculations of Bruchey's expenses for fiscal year 1998 do not include two major expenses - a $1,220 trip to Wesel, Germany, and a $925 Leadership Hagerstown program - which originally were charged to the mayor's expense account earlier this year.

Fiscal year 1998 ran from July 1, 1997, to June 30, 1998.

When asked about Bruchey's expense account spending midway through last fiscal year, city finance officials said the mayor had been reimbursed $3,182 from the account. That total included charges for the trip and the leadership program, said Ray Foltz, the city's accounting department supervisor.

Those expenses are now considered separate expenditures and not part of the mayor's expense account, Foltz said.

"We don't believe the expense reimbursement is intended to include those kinds of expenses," he said.

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In general the expense accounts reimburse council members for food and lodging costs at government-related conferences, he said.

Foltz said the mayor was acting as an official representative of the city during his trip to Hagerstown's sister city in Germany.

Hagerstown Councilman Alfred W. Boyer, who agreed that the trip should be excluded from the mayor's expense account, said, "The trip to Wesel is something he's responsible for as part of his ceremonial duties."

Foltz said the cost of Leadership Hagerstown, a leadership training program run through the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce, was something the city would have paid for even if the mayor hadn't attended because another city official would have gone in his place.

Boyer said he wasn't sure whether that expense should be erased from the mayor's expense account.

Bruchey said the finance department correctly moved those two costs from his expense account.

If the mayor's expense account totals had included those two items, Bruchey would have spent about $4,570 during fiscal year 1998.

Minus the charges for the leadership program and the trip to Germany, Bruchey spent about $2,400 during that year.

Almost $1,250 of that went to pay for food, hotels and registration fees for Maryland Municipal League events. Another $565 paid for several meetings with other Maryland mayors.

So far this fiscal year, Bruchey has been reimbursed for about $480 in expenses.

Almost $210 of that went to the Rocky Gap Lodge, where Bruchey stayed for two nights while attending an October Municipal League conference.

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