September 27, 2005

Trip to Honolulu cost taxpayers $18,230.40 (to date)

Although he was only reimbursed for the lowest airline rate, Freeholder Chairman Richard Proctor traveled first class when he was attending to freeholder duties as an attendee of the National Association of Counties (NACo) in Honolulu this past July.

Along with his $29,000 stipend for being a part-time Freeholder, Proctor serves as a part-time health administrator for several municipalities. Perhaps we should all be proud that our public servants can afford to travel in first class at $2,005.30. After all, if we are paying our public servants so well it must be because we the public are well off.

But I’ve never been to Hawaii - have you?

According to his airline flight information, it seems Proctor turned this trip into a 24-day vacation. Minus the days spent at the convention. But then again, did he even attend the convention? According to records obtained though the Open Public Records Act, Proctor's airline flight information showed that he traveled 7/10/05 from Newark to LA, 7/22/05 Monterey to LA, 7/22 LA to Honolulu, 8/3/05 Honolulu to Newark. The actual conference took place between 7/14 and 7/20. Yet Proctor’s flight information shows him in California on those dates. Perhaps he swam between California and Hawaii to save us taxpayers money. If he has video footage of that, I might even vote for him.

On a positive note, I was told that Freeholder Al Mirabella used frequent flyer miles for his airfare. However he had the biggest taxi/food bill weighing in at $405.88.

Freeholders Proctor and Angel Estrada, who are up for reelection, did not hand in expenses as of this date.

Although the county paid for nine people to attend the conference, only seven attended. I was told that the county will eventually be reimbursed for the two cancellations.

From what I could gather, attendees who brought guests along were County Manager George Devanney and Freeholder Adrian Mapp.

Hawaii NACo Expenses - Conference dates 7/14/05 to 7/20/05 (Only 7 of the 21 New Jersey Counties Attended)

Hotel: Seven rooms at the Sheraton Waikiki in Honolulu $8,655.72

Registration for NAACO Conference nine people @ $415.00 per person $3,735.00

Attendee Plane Fare/Taxi&Food

Mapp: 785.13/323.38

Estrada: 704.43/N/A

Tedeshi: 661.35/194.87

Holmes: 788.20/104.00

Proctor: 661.35/N/A

Mirabella: N/A/405.88

Devanney: 953.13/258.00

Totals 4,553.59 1,286.13

Grand TOTAL: $18,230.44

According to NACo’s website ( the following are highlights of participating in the conference:

Participate in numerous educational workshops and learning opportunities.

Increase knowledge by participating in NACo’s Advanced Leadership Training Sessions.

Involve yourself in Committee meetings determining the future steps of NACo.

Have the opportunity at the exposition to conduct business with companies that sell products and services to local government.

Take part in the election of new NACo officials – including the NACo President.

Give yourself the opportunity to network with county officials representing 80% of the nation’s population.