The Douglasville City Council is expected to take up at its Monday meeting whether city officials can be reimbursed for expenses to attend the National League of Cities' City Summit in Charlotte from Nov. 15-18.
The council has a pre-approved list of training events, and the Charlotte event is not on that list, which is why action is required Monday.
So far, council members Samuel Davis and LaShun Burr Danley have expressed interest in going to the conference, City Manager Marcia Hampton said. If the council votes to approve the trip, all council members who want to attend will be able to do so at the taxpayers' expense.
Hampton said the cost of the Charlotte trip would be similar to the Georgia Municipal Association Convention the council attends each year in Savannah.
Councilman Richard Segal said after the meeting that the GMA conference typically costs about $2,000 for each city official who attends. That amount, he said, takes into consideration conference registration, training classes, lodging, mileage and meals.
Segal said he doesn't believe the Charlotte summit is as beneficial because it's not specific to Georgia like the GMA conference.
Councilman Mark Adams echoed some of Segal's concerns.
"In order to have transparency and to be fiscally responsible with the citizen's money, we were sending one person to attend to represent the city rather than this being something that each and every one of the elected officials could potentially attend at the expense of the city," Adams said
Mayor Rochelle Robinson said whether something is beneficial for a council member to attend is subjective.
"I think it's subjective whether you think it's beneficial or not," Robinson said. "If you look at the classes and see what they offer: Economic Development, Public Health and Safety, Energy, Environmental, Health Education, and Youth Development. It just depends on the person."
Like Robinson, Mayor Pro Tem Larry Yockey said he believes the Charlotte summit could be beneficial for council members.
"Whenever you get together with other cities, whether it's local cities within the state or cities outside the state, you get a feel for what's going on in different regions of the United States and how they're dealing with certain problems that they have, and it's a good idea to get other people's feelings and what is going on in their communities and how they're handling them," Yockey said.
Also on Monday, the council is expected to vote to on whether to reimburse Yockey for $1,281.95 in expenses he incurred to attend the Douglas County Chamber of Commerce's 2017 Chairman's Club Fly-In to Washington, D.C. from Sept. 5-7. Yockey attended the event in place of Robinson, who had events and meetings in Douglasville to attend that week.