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Louisville Metro Council sticks taxpayers with
Councilwoman Judy Green handed out fruit baskets while wearing a green Santa Claus suit; Councilman Jim Peden's office fed volunteers barbecue for helping clean up McNeely Lake; and former Councilman Deonte Hollowell catered meals for senior citizens while running for re election.
And it was all paid for with taxpayer money.
In fact, in the past 3 1/2 years, Louisville Metro Council members have spent more than $110,000 buying groceries and catering meals for district holiday parties, festivals, community meetings and other events with no oversight or review by the full Metro Council.
Since the 2007 08 fiscal year, council members have been reimbursed for more than 1,000 invoices and "Oxandrolone Powder India" receipts relating to Testoviron 250 O Sustanon 250 food purchases, according to documents The Courier Journal obtained under the state's open records law.
It's a little known form of discretionary spending available to all council members through the "public relations" portion of their office expense accounts, for which they get $30,000 a year.
Council discretionary spending has come under increasing scrutiny in the wake of ethics complaints filed against Green, and reporting on other questionable spending practices such as council members handing out gift cards to residents in their districts.
With the food purchases, the council has no policies to guide members, such as whether it is appropriate to provide food to groups of potential voters as elections approach or what Buy Cheap Jintropin Online to do with leftovers.
It's a practice that metro government officials admit they have no way "Oxandrolone Powder India" to police and one that Louisville's peer cities either don't allow or permit at much lower spending levels.
Tracy Gaines, the Metro Council's business manager since 2004, told The Courier Journal that her office has no way of knowing whether council members or their staffs are taking food home or whether it is being given away to friends or family.
"We do not attend the events. We are Testosterone Propionate Real Or Fake not at the stores with them," Gaines said.
"Anytime you're going to have this kind of spending, it has to have extraordinary levels of transparency and accountability because there is an extraordinary danger of petty corruption," Baxandall said.
Some council members defend the spending on food as a way to get people to attend public meetings or reward citizens for volunteer work.
Democrat David Tandy, who budgets about $5,000 annually for a community barbecue, said such events "add to the quality of life, not just for people in my district but across the community. Taxpayers in my district look forward to the barbecue every year."
But critics say the public benefit of such spending often is dubious. And the Courier Journal's review of the records found that the timing of at least some of the purchases has coincided with re election campaigns.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said he is concerned about the lack of policy, accountability and transparency with spending on food. And he said spending public dollars on food during 4-chlorodehydromethyltestosteron an election is "inexcusable."
"There should be no hint of that," he said.
But the mayor's office also has discretionary Turinabol Ciccone funds that can go toward food. And Fischer's office "Buy Cheap Jintropin Online" has spent $200 on food purchases for its Merger 2.0 public meetings.
Fischer spokesman Chris Poynter called those expenditures "a mistake," and Fischer said his office won't be spending any more money on food for community meetings during his term.
All requests for council reimbursement must go through the council president's office, then to the business manager, both of whom sign off on the expenditure before it goes to the Finance Department for payment.
But Democrat Tom Owen, who served as council president last year, said he can't remember ever rejecting a request for payment.
"The president approves the purchases as a pro forma," said Owen, who spent $483 on food since 2007 08, including $300 for a staff appreciation party.
"I never rejected any, but several times I flinched," he said.
Spending near campaignsSince 2007 08, no council member spent more money in a shorter period of time than Hollowell, an independent whom the council elected last July to fill the late George Unseld's vacant seat in the 6th District until the general election in November.
During four months in office, Hollowell spent nearly $7,000 on food while raising only $1,300 for his re election campaign.
In September and October alone, as Hollowell was running his campaign, his council office spent at least $5,300 to cater meals for senior citizens, neighborhood association leaders, St. Catherine Court residents and apartment complex dwellers in the California neighborhood.
The invoices Hollowell submitted with those expenses all say the money was spent so he could discuss "issues and concerns" with residents.
Hollowell said in an interview that he was very careful not to violate Kentucky election laws, which forbid candidates from providing "money or other things of value, either directly or indirectly, to any person in consideration of the vote or financial or moral support of that person."
"I never mentioned the election at all when I was talking to senior citizens or catering events," Hollowell said.