By Adam Tobias | Wisconsin Reporter
MADISON, Wis. — A Madison public employee who visited South Dakota for a convention violated the city’s vehicle use policy by sightseeing on the trip with an unauthorized passenger, an internal investigation found.
The employee, whose name was not disclosed, was issued a warning letter and ordered to engage in a corrective action plan, Madison Assistant City Attorney Roger Allen told Wisconsin Reporter.
The Madison Traffic Engineering Department employee agreed to pay an estimated $200 for fuel and was charged vacation time for the side excursion, Allen said.
A second violation could result in suspension or termination, Allen said.
The employee was authorized to drive one of the city’s out-of-town vehicles to the 2014 Joint Western/Midwestern Institute of Transportation Engineers District Meeting in Rapid City, S.D., from June 29 to July 2, but took a side trip to Custer State Park.
Using city cars for personal business is against city vehicle-use policy, Allen told Wisconsin Reporter. The employee wasn’t authorized to bring a family member, Allen said.
Rapid City to Custer State Park is a 70-mile round trip in the opposite direction from Wisconsin, according to Mapquest.
The employee logged 1,890 miles on the entire excursion, Allen said. Driving from Madison to Rapid City and back is about 1,545 miles, a difference of 345 miles.
A person who commented on Wisconsin Reporter’s first story about the investigation and who identified themselves as the city employee in question said he or she could have used their personal vehicle for the trip, but it would be more expensive for taxpayers.
The employee would have been reimbursed about $555 if he or she drove a personal car, according to policy.
“I do believe that as a public employee, we should spend public money responsibly … I sincerely apologize to the City and the public for this,” the employee said in the comment section. “I take the responsibility for the consequences and I’m working with the City to get it resolved.”
Allen confirmed the employee wrote the response and did so without input from city management.