POLICY 15
MISCELLANEOUS EXPENSE

Effective Date: October, 2013

SECTION INDEX:    Miscellaneous Expense

1    Purpose

2    Application

3    Guidance

3.1    Training Sessions, Retreats or Hiring Process 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 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.

For the purpose of this policy, volunteers may also be included, other than City employees, participating in section 3.1, 3.2, and 3.3, who are specifically invited by the City to assist and represent the interest of the City. City staff must also be in attendance at the event, and volunteers approved by the City Manager or Administrative Services Director in advance. 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. 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 HIRING PROCESS PANELS

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

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

City funds may be used to provide beverages and light snacks at training sessions, retreats, or interview panels within the discretion of the department involved.

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 beverages and/or light snacks provided during any intergovernmental meetings involving direct City issues.

3.3. OTHER MEETINGS INVOLVING CITY BUSINESS

City funds may be used to pay for meals for those covered under this policy during these events if either of the following criteria are 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.

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

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

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 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.

3.6. ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES

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

3.7. MILEAGE

Mileage for use of a personal vehicle 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 Staff for payment.

Any 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: October, 2013; November, 2012. Superseded: N/A.