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Expense records are released

December 09, 2003|by SCOTT BUTKI

scottb@herald-mail.com

Hagerstown Councilman Kristin B. Aleshire spent and was reimbursed for more than the rest of the Hagerstown City Council combined during the last fiscal year, but still was well below the $1,200 set aside each year for expenses for each council member, according to Hagerstown Finance Department documents.

Meanwhile, Mayor William M. Breichner was reimbursed for $3,212.76, more than the $2,825 amount budgeted for his expense account.

Aleshire was reimbursed for $562.11 in expenses for the fiscal year, which ended June 30.

The city budget has $6,000 for council reimbursements, with each council member allowed to spend a maximum of $1,200.

The bulk of Aleshire's reimbursed expenses was the $520.11 cost of attending the annual Maryland Municipal League conference in Ocean City, Md.

Aleshire was the only council member who attended the conference, but Breichner and city employees also attended the event.

The conference, in which members of municipal governments across the state meet, occurs each year in Ocean City.

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Attending the conference was a valuable experience, Aleshire said.

"It is a learning experience and sort of a cross-training experience," he said. By talking and hearing presentations by various governments, he learns what has worked and what has failed elsewhere, he said.

Aleshire also was reimbursed $42 for attending a Maryland Municipal League dinner.

Councilwoman Carol Moller had the second largest amount of expenses, $290, after being reimbursed for dinners and events put on by the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce and other organizations.

In contrast, Councilman Lewis C. Metzner asked for no reimbursements last fiscal year, which has been the case in recent years, since he does not make it to many Maryland Municipal League events.

Breichner is a member of the league's legislative committee and therefore is required not only to attend the league's conference and dinners, but other committee events as well, he said.

City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said when the mayor's expense account goes over budget, the city usually can find other money in other accounts to make necessary adjustments.

Breichner was reimbursed for $638.75 for mileage for trips to Annapolis and Frederick, Md., and elsewhere for trips related to his job. None of the council members asked for reimbursements for gas. City officials are reimbursed at 25 cents per mile.

Breichner was reimbursed for $1,241.09 for hotel expenses for trips on city business. He said he goes to the hotel designated as the host for the event.

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