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Travel Policies Need To Be Clear

Thursday, Sep. 23, 2010

When public officials travel, even if for official business, there are often questions about who paid for the trip, and why.

Such is the case in Madison, Wisconsin, where Mayor Dave Cieslewicz is being asked to justify a tour of bike-friendly cities in Europe.

Because the trip was sponsored by a bicycle industry group, it is  unclear if the trip constitutes a violation of the city's ethics code.

To clear up the confusion the city's ethics board has proposed new language that would "allow city officials to go on trips paid for by third parties, but they would be subject to the city's travel regulations and spending limits."

This seems like a reasonable way to foster both transparency and accountability, while allowing public officials to take advantage of learning opportunities outside their city limits.


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