Rensselaer County gives McLauglin a bigger travel budget, extra secretary - http://travelporn.info | luxury travel sites

April 11, 2018 1:19 am
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TROY –  Rensselaer County Executive Steven McLaughlin’s travel budget was quintupled to $5,000 and he will be allowed to hire a second secretary, who will handle scheduling, under a resolution approved by a 11-7 margin Tuesday night by the County Legislature.

The $5,000 is the most ever budgeted to pay for the county executive’s travel expenses, according to county budget information between 2008 and 2018 available on the county website.

The $5,000 travel budget is more than the $4,054 spent by former County Executive Kathleen Jimino between 2008 and 2016, according to county budget reports. The least amount spent by the county executive’s office was $260 in 2012 and the most was $779 in 2016, according to available budget information on county travel spending.

The second secretarial post will have a $50,000 annual salary and increases the county executive office staff to six positions from five. It one of two new positions created Tuesday, the other being coordinator of HAZMAT and Emergency Preparedness.

The travel and positions were among 15 budgetary moves in the resolution, which was condemned by the six Democratic legislators.

“There’s a number of job creations in here. Those things I believe should be done at budget time,” Deputy Minority Leader Edward Manny, D-Troy, said.

The travel budget increase from $1,000 to $5,000 is to pay for trips related to economic development, said Richard Crist, a spokesman for McLaughlin. “There’s a number of opportunities out there that may require travel,” Crist said.

McLaughlin has not yet spent any of the travel budget, according to Crist. When asked if any of the trips would be out of the country, Crist said any travels abroad would be announced to the public.

Manny said McLaughlin probably needs the larger travel budget to drive the county-owned 2018 Chevrolet Tahoe he drives, adding, it’s a vehicle “that drinks gasoline like water.”

McLaughlin’s county SUV cost nearly $40,000. It was paid for out of the sheriff’s vehicle budget at the end of 2017 shortly before the county executive took office. Majority Leader Peter Grimm, D-Troy said it would be interesting to see what becomes of the two Ford Utility Police Interceptor vehicles the legislators approved Tuesday to be bought purchased for $94,296.

The County Legislature approved $1,000 to cover travel costs for the county executive when it adopted the 2018 budget last year. That was the first time the travel budget moved into four figures.

The second secretarial job is needed to handle scheduling for McLaughlin, Crist said. With the first new county executive in 16 years, Crist said McLaughlin is receiving numerous requests to attend public events and is traveling around the county more as part of his outreach efforts to county residents.

Legislator Todd Tesman, R-Pittstown, was the only Republican to vote against the budgetary moves. He said more study should be done to the personnel and expense changes related to public safety.

“The current administration didn’t have an opportunity to build a budget that would support the roles, responsibilities this current administration desires,” Legislature Chairman Michael Stammel, R-Rensselaer said.

Grimm said the Democrats voted against the changes presented Tuesday because they should be done at budget time.