DPI Defends Early Travel To Disney As Necessary and Proper
MacIver News Service | July 25, 2014
Adamczyk accused DPI of an “extremely questionable travel reimbursement” for an employee that attended the iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium.
The conference started on Sunday, October 27th and concluded with a morning session on Wednesday, October 30th and took place at a Disney World Resort. According to the details released by Adamczyk’s campaign, the employee arrived in Flordia on Friday and traveled with her spouse and child.
“It sure seems advantageous for this employee to stretch out the length of this resort trip so that they could enjoy the full Disney experience,” Adamczyk said in his press release.
DPI spokesman Thomas McCarthy defended the department’s expenditures for the employee’s trip.
“Registration was open on Saturday, October 26th, allowing her to gain access to volumes of preparation materials which she worked on that day,” McCarthy said in an email to MacIver. “Also, [Adamczyk] was told that the employee was attempting to set up meetings with other national leaders in the field on Saturday morning hence her arrival on Friday.”
McCarthy also said the employee followed all regulations set by the state.
“This was a national conference hosted by the leading organization in the field. The location and hotel for this national conference was set by the organization,” he said. “In this instance, the employee followed all State of Wisconsin travel regulations, which are established by the Office of State Employee Relations and the Department of Administration.”
According to the conference’s website, its attendees would “have robust networking opportunities; learn about the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities in e-learning; interact in session presentations; and gain access to the latest research and best practices reports.”
Records released by Adamcyzk show each night at the Disney hotel cost $205. The employee was also reimbursed for other travel expenses.
“As a small businessman, I know these outrageous spending habits would never fly in the private sector,” explained Adamczyk. “This $2,151 trip to a prime tourist destination is a wake up call that we must start holding our public employees to a higher standard. Most people I know in the private sector fly in and out of conventions to reduce hotel expense and time away from their families.”
Adamczyk criticized DPI’s response that the expenditure was acceptable and proper.
“It seems obvious to me that this employee snuck an extra day or two onto this trip to make it less of a business trip and more like a vacation,” Adamczyk told MacIver in an email.
“There is no reason this employee needed to arrive at this Disney resort on a Friday when at the earliest it started was Sunday. Also, she left Orlando on a 12:12pm flight on the last day. She likely left for the airport by around 10am. Why did taxpayers pay for another $205/night hotel when she attended an hour or so of meetings on Wednesday?”
He added that the employee should pay back taxpayers for at least one of the nights at $205.
Adamczyk’s press release and materials from his open records request are available here.