POLICY 15
MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSE Revised 5/17

SECTION INDEX:    Miscellaneous Expense

1    Purpose

2    Application

3    Guidance

3.1    Training Sessions, Retreats or Selection Panels

3.2    Intergovernmental Meetings Attended by City Employees

3.3    Other Meetings Involving City Business

3.4    Hosting

3.5    Volunteers

3.6    Alcoholic Beverages

3.7    Mileage

3.8    Documentation - Determination of Eligibility

3.9    Amendments to the Procedures and Policies

4    Forms

4.1    Recognition Event and Other Related Expense Authorization

1. PURPOSE

To establish policies and procedures related to employee expenses incurred when conducting City business in the Metropolitan Thurston County area (Olympia, Lacey, and Tumwater). It is the general policy of the City to pay for certain expenses incurred by City employees while in a non-travel status; that is while conducting City business within Thurston County. Expenses under this policy shall be paid only if the activity serves a public purpose, involves specific City business, and expenses are incurred by or for individuals directly involved with the City business being conducted. This policy applies to expenses not covered under the City’s Travel Policy. Reimbursements will be made only when valid receipts are presented. Certain items will be reimbursed without receipts for those items which generally do not have receipts available (e.g., parking lot fees).

This policy does not apply to general team building or departmental social events, employee recognition or celebration events, employee retirement or resignation events. Refer to the City’s Recognition Events and Other Related Expense policy.

2. APPLICATION

The Policy applies to all City employees, City Councilmembers, Board, Commission and Committee members, volunteers and other individuals specifically included in section 3.1, 3.2, and 3.3.

This policy does not apply to non-employees who have contracted with the City or businesses who have contracted with the City, except as provided in section 3.1

3. GUIDANCE

Items which if paid by the City would create a tax liability or tax reporting requirement by the City, are not authorized City costs, and are excluded from this policy. Example: paying for a meal without valid receipts.

Guidance governing reimbursement or payment are as follows:

3.1. TRAINING SESSIONS, RETREATS OR SELECTION PANELS

Amenities such as meals, non-alcohol beverages, or light snacks (cookies, bagels, muffins etc.) provided for training sessions, retreats or panels.

City funds may be used to pay for meals for those covered under this policy, as well as non-employees on panels, and training or retreat facilitators during these events if either of the following criteria is met:

1.    Such sessions, retreats, panels, or meetings last a full business day and if requiring individuals to eat separately off-site would unreasonably disrupt business conducted; or

2.    Such events lasting less than a full business day and it is not reasonable to schedule the event at non-meal times, and if requiring the individuals to eat separately off-site would be unreasonably disruptive.

The events covered by this section are those involving direct City of Olympia business and are attended by those covered by this policy or others who are active participants, specifically for the purpose of conducting that business.

3.2. INTERGOVERNMENTAL MEETINGS ATTENDED BY CITY EMPLOYEES

City funds may be used to pay for meals for those covered by this policy only if the following criteria are met:

1.    The meeting deals with issues directly involving the City of Olympia, and

2.    It is shown that it was not practical or reasonable to schedule the meeting at a time other than during a meal time.

City funds may be used for non-alcohol beverages and/or light snacks provided during intergovernmental meetings involving direct City issues when held by the City.

3.3. OTHER MEETINGS INVOLVING CITY BUSINESS

Includes all-city and all-department recoginition events [clarification added June 2017]

City funds may be used to pay for meals for those covered under this policy during these events if any of the following criteria is met:

1.    The meeting lasts a full business day and if requiring individuals to eat separately off-site would unreasonably disrupt business conducted at the event; or

2.    The meeting lasts less than a full business day and it is not reasonable to schedule the event at non-meal times, and if requiring the individuals to eat separately off-site would be unreasonably disruptive.

3.    All-city or all-department recognition events [clarification added June 2017].

Meals will not be provided to those not covered by this policy during other meetings involving City business.

City funds may be used for non-alcoholic beverages and/or light snacks provided during other meetings involving City business which last longer than two hours.

Example, the director of a social service agency is invited by the City to assist the City at a meeting with the State regarding social service issues.

3.4. HOSTING

Hosting is defined as paying expenses for individuals not covered under this policy.

City funds shall not be used to pay for gifts, travel, or meals incurred by guests visiting the City or engaging in City functions, whether or not invited by the City. In ceremonial events or celebrations involving guests, City funds may be used to pay for non-alcoholic beverages and/or light snacks.

3.5. VOLUNTEERS

City funds may be used to pay for meals or other sustenance reasonably necessary to provide for the needs of volunteers while working at or participating in an event authorized by the City. The level of sustenance shall be appropriate for the occasion as determined by the department director or his/her designee. When it is not practical or reasonable to leave the worksite during a meal time. Example, volunteers registered and working for the City during a disaster.

3.6. ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES

In no instance will City funds be used to pay for any alcoholic beverages in connection with items covered under this policy.

3.7. MILEAGE

Mileage for use of a personal vehicle while on City business will be paid at the rate established by the Internal Revenue Service.

3.8. DOCUMENTATION - DETERMINATION OF ELIGIBILITY

In all events covered under this policy where City funds are used, the respective department director, designee or City Manager shall record the reason for the event, the public purpose served, and the persons participating using the Recognition Event and Other Related Expense Authorization form or similar documentation, which shall be forwarded to the Administrative Services Accounting Section for payment.

Determination of whether an expense qualifies under this policy shall be made by the Administrative Services Director or designee. This shall be done on a case-by-case basis and will depend on the type of duties and responsibilities of the employee/official making the request, including those of elected officials, and the nature of the expense incurred.

3.9. AMENDMENTS TO THE PROCEDURES AND POLICIES

The Administrative Services Director may make changes to this policy as needed for administrative or clarification purposes.

4. FORMS

4.1    Recognition Event and Other Related Expense Authorization

Revision history: May, 2017; February, 2017; October, 2013; November, 2012. Superseded: N/A.