Town Board Expenses: Putting Things in Perspective

Filed under: Government,INVESTIGATIONS,News,Politics |
Recently the Long Islander Newspaper ran an article about Herb Morrows’ reimbursed expenses as Mayor of the Incorporated Village of Huntington Bay. Morrow is a Republican candidate for Town Council this year. The total amount in question was $1,310.44.  The focus was on business meals that Morrow was reimbursed for that were approved by the Village Board.

Why didn’t the Long Islander FOIL the reimbursed expenses from the present Town Board members to make a comparison? The yearly salary for a Town Council member is $76,841, as compared to Herb Morrow, who is unpaid. When we look at the list of Town Board expenses below we are wondering if food and drink is included in the Association of Towns Conference fees?

This is what The Huntingtonian did (we FOILed the last five years of reimbursed expenses for the Town Board) and some of what we found is the following:

  • Susan Berland was reimbursed for more than $13,142 in total over the last 5 years ($2628/year on average)
  • Susan Berland was reimbursed for more than $6,572 for mileage over the last 5 years, We will find out what the cost per mile is so that we can figure out how many miles she is charging us for. It was around 38 cents a mile but we think it was changed recently.
  • Susan Berland was reimbursed for almost double Mark Mayokas (Mayoka has been in office since January 2010) expenses for the Assoc. of Towns Conf. in 2011
  • Glenda Jackson was reimbursed for more than $6,162 in total over the last 5 years
  • Mark Cuthbertson was reimbursed for more than $5,211 for cell phone usage over the last 5 years (about $80/month). We wonder what kind of plan we are paying for.
Below is data provided by the Town in answer to a FOIL request:

NAME

INV DATE

AMOUNT

INVOICE DESCRIPTION

PETRONE, FRANK P

2/26/2010

1,062.00

Assoc Of Towns

Total:

$1,062.00

MAYOKA, MARK

03/04/2010

884.00

Assoc Of Towns

03/16/2011

690.00

Assoc Of Towns

Total:

$1,574.00

JACKSON, GLENDA

12/15/2006

100.00

Assoc Of Towns

12/31/2006

399.90

Cell Phone

2/2/2007

149.00

REIMBURSEMENT

2/19/2007

512.50

Assoc Of Towns

2/20/2007

960.00

Assoc Of Towns

2/17/2008

627.54

Assoc Of Towns

2/19/2008

1,133.25

Assoc Of Towns

6/8/2008

519.87

Cell Phone

2/13/2009

573.00

Legislators Conf

2/16/2009

495.00

Assoc Of Towns

3/9/2010

692.10

Assoc Of Towns

Total:

$6,162.16

BERLAND, SUSAN A

2/20/2007

1,230.86

Assoc Of Towns

2/17/2008

1,398.40

Assoc Of Towns

5/30/2008

146.95

Mileage REIM

6/30/2008

85.35

Mileage REIM

8/5/2008

70.20

Mileage REIM

8/28/2008

37.44

Mileage REIM

9/29/2008

106.06

Mileage REIM

10/1/2008

129.48

Mileage REIM

11/30/2008

19.89

Mileage REIM

12/1/2008

32.76

Mileage REIM

1/31/2009

136.95

Mileage REIM

2/18/2009

1,481.78

Assoc Of Towns

2/28/2009

93.50

Mileage REIM

3/31/2009

179.30

Mileage REIM

4/30/2009

81.40

Mileage REIM

5/31/2009

145.20

Mileage REIM

6/30/2009

223.85

Mileage REIM

7/26/2009

129.80

Mileage REIM

8/20/2009

102.30

Mileage REIM

9/30/2009

231.00

Mileage REIM

10/31/2009

298.10

Mileage REIM

11/30/2009

63.80

Mileage REIM

12/31/2009

120.45

Mileage REIM

1/31/2010

139.50

Mileage REIM

2/17/2010

1,176.30

Assoc Of Towns

2/28/2010

105.50

Mileage REIM

3/31/2010

201.00

Mileage REIM

4/30/2010

221.50

Mileage REIM

5/31/2010

222.00

Mileage REIM

6/30/2010

346.50

Mileage REIM

7/31/2010

228.50

Mileage REIM

9/1/2010

208.50

Mileage REIM

9/30/2010

117.50

Mileage REIM

10/31/2010

214.00

Mileage REIM

11/30/2010

104.50

Mileage REIM

12/31/2010

195.50

Mileage REIM

1/31/2011

179.52

Mileage REIM

2/20/2011

1,282.84

Assoc Of Towns

2/28/2011

120.84

Mileage REIM

3/31/2011

186.66

Mileage REIM

4/30/2011

218.28

Mileage REIM

5/31/2011

270.81

Mileage REIM

6/30/2011

351.75

Mileage REIM

7/30/2011

340.21

Mileage REIM

8/31/2011

165.95

Mileage REIM

Total:

$13,142.48

CUTHBERTSON, MARK A

12/28/2006

254.82

Cell Phone

12/31/2006

199.95

Cell Phone

2/20/2007

870.80

Assoc Of Towns

4/16/2007

339.76

Cell Phone

7/25/2007

254.82

Cell Phone

11/16/2007

339.76

Cell Phone

12/31/2007

169.88

Cell Phone

2/16/2008

84.94

Cell Phone

2/17/2008

956.40

Assoc Of Towns

6/19/2008

254.82

Cell Phone

8/16/2008

 254.82

Cell Phone

12/16/2008

339.76

Cell Phone

4/18/2009

254.82

Cell Phone

7/6/2009

254.82

Cell Phone

11/24/2009

424.70

Cell Phone

12/23/2009

1,000.00

Assoc Of Towns

2/16/2010

254.82

Cell Phone

3/4/2010

779.00

Assoc Of Towns

8/18/2010

424.70

Cell Phone

3/9/2011

820.80

Assoc Of Towns

4/27/2011

424.70

Cell Phone

4/27/2011

339.76

Cell Phone

8/16/2011

339.76

Cell Phone

Total:

$9,638.41

Notes added by the Town:

Two points need to be made by way of explanation for the data:

1) Instead of receiving a town-issued cell phone, Mark Cuthbertson and Glenda Jackson opted to receive a monthly stipend to be applied toward the cost of using their personal cell phones for Town business (other Town officials have made the same choice and receive the same stipend). Susan Berland has a Town-issued cell phone that is used for Town business (as do some other Town officials who carry two cell phones: one for town business and our personal ones).
2) Susan Berland, by Town Board resolution, is the duly designated alternate to the board of the State Association of Towns, and must spend an extra day at the annual conference, which explains why her bills for the annual conference are larger than her colleagues’. By way of comparison, the bills submitted by Jo-Ann Raia for the Association of Towns annual conference were $1,091 in 2011, $1,309 in 2009 and $1,036 in 2008. Jo-Ann did not attend the conference in 2010.
The Huntingtonian: We would like to add that we did not FOIL any information on Jo-Ann Raia and we wonder why this information was freely given without a FOIL request.
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6 Responses to Town Board Expenses: Putting Things in Perspective

  1. Cuthbertson’s cellphone bills are outrageous! Most people have plans that give unlimited texts or unlimited voice for mobile to mobile at the very least. Are we paying for his whole family and their cellphone usage? It sure looks like it.

    And Berland’s mileage is equally outrageous. Where is she going everyday?

    I think Town Board members should be required to use town-owned cellphones that have a plan that covers their needs. I think during the day, when doing town business, they should also be required to use town-owned cars, parking them at Town Hall at night thank you.

    These added costs may be peanuts in the whole scheme of things, but as with criticism of school budgets and administrator’s “perks”, our town board members should be held to the same standards we expect of others.

    My Town Too
    October 11, 2011 7:54 pm at 7:54 pm

  2. To:My Town Too,

    It should be noted that Mark Mayoka does not have a town issued cell phone and he does not accept the monthly stipend from the tax payers. He uses his own cell phone for Town business. He is the only Town Council member that does this. We also learned that Herb Morrow does not have the tax payers of Huntington Bay pay for his cell phone use.

    Ilene Fucci - Editor
    October 11, 2011 9:33 pm at 9:33 pm

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