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Georgia school official's travel expenses questioned

State Superintendent Barge billing taxpayers for car costs

Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013 9:59 AM
Last updated 8:00 PM
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ATLANTA -- Georgia’s schools chief has been collecting a state car allowance worth more than $7,000 a year even though the state stopped offering the allowance to officials several years before he took office.

In addition, records obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution show that state Schools Superintendent John Barge in 2012 regularly billed drives to and from his home in northwest Georgia as business travel. That’s a practice the state’s top accountant said is “inconsistent with IRS guidelines.”

In an interview with the AJC Wednesday, Barge said he was unaware that state budget officials had eliminated the vehicle allowance, which adds $587 a month to his state paycheck of more than $130,000 a year. He said his predecessors Kathy Cox and Brad Bryant received the stipend, which he believed to be “part of the superintendent’s salary package.”

“Our folks thought we were doing exactly as we were being guided to do,” said Barge, whose aides met Wednesday with state officials to discuss travel policy after the AJC inquired about the payments. “We’re not trying to defraud anybody of anything.”

However, records show that Barge’s staff was informed in November 2011 that he couldn’t claim the motor vehicle allowance because it was “discontinued in fiscal year 2006.” In the memo, obtained through an open records request, former state budget chief Debbie Dlugolenski Alford suggested that Barge take the matter to the State Board of Education.

Comments (9) Add comment
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KSL
121536
Points
KSL 02/07/13 - 12:06 pm
7
1
What people won't try to get

What people won't try to get away with.

Chigger Hill Man
159
Points
Chigger Hill Man 02/07/13 - 12:09 pm
7
0
Do I see greed

And deception being practiced by a politician ? I can't believe my eyes. One of the few cases in the country, I'm sure.

itsanotherday1
40177
Points
itsanotherday1 02/07/13 - 12:53 pm
4
0
He needs to pay us back every

He needs to pay us back every penny.

Willow Bailey
20579
Points
Willow Bailey 02/07/13 - 01:52 pm
3
0
With interest.

With interest.

nnaugusta
533
Points
nnaugusta 02/07/13 - 07:32 pm
1
3
I agree, pay it back

I agree, pay it back then...turn around and bill the state for the overtime he puts in! That car allowance will be a drop in the bucket! Better pick their fights carefully.

rmwhitley
5526
Points
rmwhitley 02/07/13 - 09:33 pm
0
0
gubmint
Unpublished

employees. Always looking to pad their wallets and pocketbooks.

mjct1
3
Points
mjct1 02/08/13 - 07:29 am
1
0
All of a sudden

This article says that after the stipend was ended others still collected. Okay, what shall we do about the ones in the past. Also, why is this now a problem after the Supt. and the Governor disagreed through elections on the Charter School Amendment. HMMMMM!!!! Timing is always important.

Willow Bailey
20579
Points
Willow Bailey 02/08/13 - 10:33 am
2
0
Overtime? Is he an hourly

Overtime? Is he an hourly employee?

KSL
121536
Points
KSL 02/08/13 - 11:06 am
1
0
Of course he is not an hourly

Of course he is not an hourly employee. Some people just don't understand the concept of being salaried.

Willow Bailey
20579
Points
Willow Bailey 02/08/13 - 01:15 pm
0
0
Nor of operating by the law.

Nor of operating by the law. If there's enough justification for it, it makes everything alright.

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