Whether it’s school board, township board or city council, there aren’t many citizens actively involved in contributing at these meetings.
That’s what makes the story coming out of Robinson Township so refreshing.
Township Supervisor Tracy Mulligan took an expenses-paid trip to the Michigan Township Association’s conference in January. The trip was budgeted at $550. But during last month’s Township Board meeting, township resident Matthew Pelt brought up concerns over the fact that the actual amount Mulligan was reimbursed exceeded the budgeted amount by more than $150.
At this point, we don’t know the reason that Mulligan went over budget by more than 25 percent.
What we like to see is the fact that there are still concerned citizens out there who take it upon themselves to keep their elected officials accountable for their actions.
At the meeting, Pelt questioned why Mulligan’s mileage exceeded the actual mileage to Traverse City, why there were no meal receipts turned in, and why no information from the meeting was brought back to the township.
He also questioned if Mulligan used the trip for personal pleasure.
“I find it very inappropriate for any Township Board members to act unprofessional when on a trip paid for by taxpayers of Robinson Township,” Pelt wrote.
Now, let’s get one thing straight — anyone who’s been away on a business trip knows it’s not 24 hours of all work and no play. It’s not realistic to expect someone to head back to their room and turn in for the night when the conference wraps up at 5 p.m.
Still, that doesn’t mean the cost of those activities that take place after hours should be handed over to taxpayers.
We’re not pointing fingers at Mulligan. At this point, other than the discrepancy in mileage, there’s no proof that she did anything wrong.
But without concerned citizens like Pelt keeping track, we’d never know what our elected officials are getting away with.
Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Alex Doty and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.