Starke County employees who travel on county-related business are not allowed to accept dinner, drinks or any good or service of value from contractors or vendors. That’s now the official policy of the county, as adopted Monday by the council.
Other revisions to the county’s travel policy include setting mileage reimbursement at the IRS standard mileage rate. Generally travel less than 50 miles from home is considered a day trip, but overnight travel can be authorized if a meeting starts early the next morning. This is done at the discretion of an employee’s supervisor but does require pre-approval. Also, when two or more employees are traveling the same general route for the same general purpose, one vehicle should be used if possible. Reimbursed mileage cannot exceed map mileage for a trip, and other expenses, such as parking and tolls, may be reimbursed if receipts are provided. The policy also sets limits on meal reimbursements, with a maximum of $6.50 for breakfast, $8.50 for lunch and $13 for dinner.
The main purpose of the policy revision is to streamline the claims reimbursement process. Council members note the polices are consistent with the state ethics policy.