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Travel and Discretionary Funds Policy

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TRAVEL & DISCRETIONARY FUNDS POLICY

Section 1. PURPOSE

The purpose of this policy is to implement a provision of the Public Authorities Accountability Act requiring the adoption of certain policies and to adhere to the recommended practices of the NYS Authorities Budget Office (the “ABO”) to protect against the use of discretionary funds for purposes that do not advance the Fulton County Center for Regional Growth’s (the “Agency”) mission and public purposes. Public Authorities Law §2824 requires the Agency to adopt a policy to govern business travel and the ABO Recommended Practice entitled, Written Policies Governing the Use of Authority Discretionary Funds, specifically  recommends adoption by the Agency of a policy on the proper use of discretionary funds that incorporates the legal principals set forth in NYS Attorney General in opinion #2007-F4. All funds from all sources to the extent not expressly restricted are Discretionary Funds. Restricted funds should be expended within the express guidelines and restrictions, whether narrower or broader, than the Agency Discretionary Funds Policy.

Section 2. APPLICABILITY

This policy shall apply to every member of the board (the “Board”) of the Agency, all
officers and employees thereof, including subcontractors and agents of the Agency for whom the
Agency has agreed to pay for travel expenditures.

Section 3. TRAVEL

  1.  APPROVAL OF TRAVEL
    Travel involving overnight accommodation requires prior approval of the President & CEO, or the Chairman or Vice-Chairman of the Board in the case of travel by the CEO.
  2. PAYMENT OF TRAVEL
    The Agency will reimburse all reasonable expenses related to meals, travel, and lodging that were incurred by any board member, officer or employee as a result of the performance of their official duties. All official travel shall be properly authorized, reported, and reimbursed.
    Under no circumstances shall expenses for personal travel be charged to, or temporarily funded by, the Agency. It is the traveler’s responsibility to report his or her travel expenses m a
    responsible and ethical manner, in accordance with this policy.
  3. TRAVEL EXPENSES
    Travelers may use their private vehicle for business purposes if it is less expensive than renting a car, taking a taxi, or using alternative transportation, or if it saves time. The traveler will be reimbursed at the standard mileage rate as issued by the Internal Revenue Service.
    Meals and/or refreshments will be reimbursed at actual expense. Valid meal and/or refreshment expenses must be properly documented and submitted for reimbursement. Costs of individual meals should generally not exceed reasonable industry standards per person for
    breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Gratuities should generally not exceed 20% of the total bill and are reimbursable if a restaurant receipt is submitted. Documentation to support a valid meal and/or  refreshment expense must include a receipt, along with a list of who was in attendance and the general nature of the meeting. Purchases of alcohol or tobacco products are prohibited. Lodging will be reimbursed at actual expense. Accommodations are expected to be comfortable and appropriate to the particular purpose of the trip – not luxurious or extravagant. Reimbursement for miscellaneous travel expenses shall be determined on a case-by-case basis. Examples of miscellaneous travel expenses that are reimbursable are the following:
    Reasonable tips for baggage handling, transportation, and hotel gratuities,
    Highway and bridge tolls,
    Parking fees.Wherever possible, the Agency’s New York State sales tax exemption should be claimed.All expense reimbursement determinations made pursuant to this paragraph C shall be made by the President/CEO. In the instance where such determinations regard the travel of the President & CEO, such determinations shall be made by the Chair of the Board.

Section 4. DISCRETIONARY FUNDS

  1. USE OF DISCRETIONARY FUNDS
    The expenditure of Agency funds must relate to an enumerated power, duty or purpose of the Agency. Therefore, the use of discretionary funds shall be limited to expenditures that
    benefit the Agency in advancing its mission and public purposes. Discretionary funds shall not be used in a manner that primarily benefits the individual board member, officer or employee.
  2. APPROVAL
    All expenditures of discretionary funds shall be approved by the President and CEO and fall within Annual Budget Allocations. Provided, however, in the instance where the President
    and CEO will seek an expenditure of discretionary funds, such expenditure shall be authorized by the Chair of the Board. The President & CEO or the Chair, as the case may be, shall review
    the proposed use of funds and reasonably determine whether such use (i) primarily benefits the Agency as opposed to an individual board member, officer or employee and (ii) advances the
    mission and public purpose of the Agency. Scrutiny of all expenses will be guided by judgment relating to the relevance of such costs and the benefits which may accrue from such activities.
  3. APPROPRIATE EXPENDITURE GUIDANCE
    (i) Membership Dues – Membership dues paid for the Agency to belong to a professional peer organization is a permissible use of Agency funds. However, individual membership costs for board members, officers and employees to belong to a professional, social or fraternal organization whereby the membership is of and the primary benefit is to, the individual rather than the Agency, should not be an Agency expenditure, unless such membership shall further the mission of the Agency.
    (ii) Charitable Contributions & Sponsorships – The appropriateness of such sponsorship or charitable contribution will depend on whether it relates to the powers, duty and purposes of the Agency, and whether such expenditure will advance the Agency’s core mission and public purposes.
    (iii) Food & Beverages – With the exception of food and beverages purchased during business travel as provided herein and food and beverages during the conduct of Agency board and committee meetings, expenditures of food and beverages for the personal consumption of board members, officers and employees should not be considered an appropriate use of Agency discretionary funds. Provided, however, expenditures for food and beverages purchased for or during the conduct of Agency business with persons that do business with the Agency may be an appropriate expenditure of Agency discretionary funds, provided that the expense is reasonable
    in light of the circumstances surrounding the Agency activity and is approved as set forth herein.Purchases of alcohol or tobacco products for personal use of are prohibited.(iv) Professional Training, Certification and Licensing – Paying the costs to attend training to secure or maintain certifications or licenses, or to attend professional conferences may be an appropriate expenditure of Agency discretionary funds as determined by the President & CEO or Chair of the Board.
    ( v) Marketing – Expenses incurred in the course of marketing our area and agency to prospects and relations with existing industries and businesses and supporting partners/stakeholders in the furtherance of our mission may be an appropriate expenditure of
    Agency discretionary funds as determined by the President & CEO or Chair of the Board.
    (vi) Annual Meeting and Conferences – Expenses incurred as a result of a board member, officer or employee’s attendance at the Agency’s Annual Meeting and other related meetings/conferences aligned with the mission of the Agency may be an appropriate expenditure
    of Agency discretionary funds as determined by the President & CEO or Chair of the Board.
    (vii) Special Events / Employee Recognition – The CEO is authorized to spend up to $3,000 of Discretionary Funds annually, subject to the limitations set forth in this Section 4C and the limitations of the annual budget, for the purpose of special events, employee recognition, morale building, team building efforts and related activities.
    (viii) Miscellaneous – Attendance at meetings, conferences and award/recognition ceremonies may be an appropriate expenditure of Agency discretionary funds as determined by the President & CEO or Chair of the Board.
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