From Tokyo to London, from Switzerland to Jamaica, there are not many places Birmingham city officials won’t go in the name of civic duty.
Take for example last year when the Birmingham City Council approved $25,383.39 in travel expenses for five city officials to travel to the London Air Show. The purpose was to showcase what Birmingham has to offer to various aviation industries.
Interestingly enough, nearly half of those expenses, $12,008.70, were accounted for by two city council assistants, Kamilah Grey and Courtney Hunter, both of whom work in Birmingham City Council President Johnathan Austin’s office. Austin is no stranger to travel either, having racked up $26,498.20 in travel costs since 2014.
In total since Jan. 7, 2014, the members of the Birmingham City Council have taken 114 trips with expenses totaling $161,453.72. That is an average cost of $1,416.26 per trip according to travel expenses listed in the archived Birmingham City Council agendas.
After delving into the list of travel expenses for city officials, one thing is clear: some officials travel a lot more than others.
Birmingham City Councilor Valerie Abbott, for example, has not had any travel expenses since January 2014, which is as far back as the archived agendas go. It may be worth noting that Abbott is currently the longest serving member on the council.
However, William Parker, being the freshest face on the council sworn in Dec. 3, 2013, has traveled 36 times since Jan. 2014.
There is, however, a gap in the archived agendas on the website. From June 24, 2014 to Aug. 19, 2014, there are no records available (The travel that occurred during that time has not been factored into the chart below).
Since 2014, the city has spent $58,519.83 on travel for various administrative assistants in the mayor’s office.
Weld has put in a request with the mayor’s office for his travel receipts that are not available online.
The numbers that are available can speak for themselves. Below is a chart outlining which public officials have traveled the most and how much it has cost Birmingham taxpayers.