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City Council committee releases travel findings

By Henry E. Green

An Abbeville City Council committee has released its findings with regard to travel expenses incurred by City Council members on trips to National League of Cities events.

The committee, made up of Council members Benji Greeson, Faye Thomas and Matt Gambrell, met on the evening of Tuesday, May 21.

The following determinations, according to City Manager Blake Stone, were made by the committee:

“Due to there being no specific language in place to instruct otherwise, the travel conducted by Mayor Pro Tem Crawford and Councilman Edwards was not illegal.

“Regarding the questions of the ethical nature of the travel, the consensus of the committee is that without clear guidelines in place each individual person will have their own opinion on whether the travel is ethical or unethical.

“The committee made note that to prevent instances like this from occurring in the future; updates to the travel and ethics policy will be recommended for consideration and vote by the entire city council at the regularly scheduled June meeting.”

The formation of the committee had been suggested by Council member Jason Edwards following a heated discussion at Council’s April meeting about expenses in connection with City Council attendance to National League of Cities events--expenses that were criticized by some on Council as being too high.

The League is “an American advocacy organization that represents the country's 19,495 cities, towns, and villages along with 49 state municipal leagues. Created in 1924, it has evolved into a membership organization providing education, research, support, and advocacy to city leaders across America,” according to Wikipedia.

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