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Back to France
Your Sept. 22, 2010, issue features Mrs. Elfendahl’s letter criticizing Councilmen Pearman and Jahncke for a recent city-funded Sister City trip to France. Obviously, the Reporter contacted City Manager Conrad about Elfendahl’s critique, which allowed his rebuttal to be simultaneously published below her letter.
Conrad’s response raises several questions. Nowhere does he indicate what economic or other benefit results from a $10,000 biennial budget appropriation for “Sister City-related expenses.”
Conrad says he paid his own airfare and hotel expense for the French trip. Why would he do that if the trip was for city business? The answer is because it wasn’t. Since it wasn’t, why were Pearman and Jahncke each paid approximately $2,700 for trip expenses? As well, can we assume Conrad took a week vacation for the trip rather than chalk it up to city business?
Conrad indicates that “no city funds” were spent for “non-city employees” who took the French trip. If city employees other than Conrad also took the trip, who were they, were city funds expended for them and vacation time used?
Finally, Conrad states “we don’t pay Councilmembers Pearman and Jahncke much for all the hours they put in.” Does he mean those who voluntarily run for and are elected to Council positions deserve perks such as free trips to France?
Hopefully, City Manager Conrad can give a real-time response to my letter just as he did to Elfendahl’s.