Thornton: Scottsdale shoulder parking and the art of reimbursement

Ask the Editor: Managing Editor Terrance Thornton during the recent Issues & Experts forum at Scottsdale Community College is seeking out answers to Scottsdale questions. (Arianna Grainey/Independent Newspapers)

Traffic concerns continue to ruminate among the thoughts of Scottsdale residents and Independent readers.

One reader took us up on our Ask the Editor endeavor wondering why a portion of Scottsdale Road in the northern region of the municipality has become more of a parking lot than thoroughfare in recent weeks.

Gary Rapaport wonders:

“On the west side of Scottsdale road, north of Pinnacle Peak, the shoulder area has become a parking lot all day. Do you know why the city allows it?”

Well, Mr. Rapaport, turns out the city of Scottsdale is not allowing it. Kelly Corsette, the city’s public affairs director, says the parking issue on the shoulder is due to an adjacent construction project.

“Your inquiry brought this issue to our attention — the parking appears to be workers on an adjacent construction site,” Mr. Corsette said of the parking maturation along Scottsdale road.  “The contractor has been notified to make sure all construction parking occurs on the construction site, not on the side of the road. The city will be monitoring to ensure compliance.”

Since we’re on the topic of travel, one question I wonder from time to time is where do our elected leaders travel to, and, when they do so, are they charging taxpayers? Apparently, they are.

Through a public records request, the Scottsdale Independent was able to receive travel reimbursements sought by our elected leaders. We received records outlining travel expense reimbursement sought by each member of Scottsdale City Council over the last three fiscal years.

Records show over the last three fiscal years, which span the calendar years of 2015 through the first six months of 2018, reimbursement pursued are:

  • Mayor Jim Lane sought a total of $5,350 in reimbursement for travel expenses in an ambassador capacity to places such as Washington D.C., China, Morocco and the Dominican Republic.
  • Councilwoman Suzanne Klapp sought $10,003 in reimbursement for travel expenses in an ambassador capacity to places like Nashville, Tenn., Kansas City, Miss., New York City and Washington D.C.
  • Councilwoman Virginia Korte sought $2,732 in reimbursement for travel expenses to both League of Arizona Cities & Towns and City Nation conferences.
  • Councilwoman Kathy Littlefield sought only reimbursement for $550 for an August 2015 trip to Tucson for a League of Arizona Cities & Towns conference.
  • Councilwoman Linda Milhaven sought reimbursement for $2,548 for a June 2016 trip to New York City to attend a City Nation conference.
  • Councilman Guy Phillips sought reimbursement for $9,062 for travel expenses to civic conventions hosted by organizations such as the National League of Cities.
  • Councilman David Smith sought reimbursement for $5,394 for two trips in fiscal year 2016-17 for civic organizations hosting events in Pittsburgh, Penn., and Washington D.C.

According to Section 8 of Scottsdale City Code, the salary of the mayor is $3,000 a month and members of council are paid $1,500 a month.

In total, over the last three fiscal years, Scottsdale City Council has sought $35,639, which was paid for with taxpayer dollars, records show.

What can we at the Scottsdale Independent, get answered for you?

Northeast Valley Managing Editor Terrance Thornton can be contacted at tthornton@newszap.com

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