Local News

Wake Commissioner Says Hawaii Trip At Taxpayers' Expense Worth The Cost

Posted June 7, 2005 6:18 a.m. EDT

— Eight Wake County commissioners are headed to Hawaii next month at taxpayers' expense, and at a time when money is tight.

The commissioners are part of almost 200 statewide going to Honolulu for an annual six-day convention of the National Association of County Commissioners.

"I'm going there to learn, to try to create greater skills and to bring something back to the county to implement," said Wake County Commissioner Joe Bryan.

But many wonder if such a trip is worth the expense.

At roughly $700 a plane ticket, $200 a hotel room per night and a convention registration fee of $400 per person, the total comes to about $16,000 paid for by Wake County taxpayers.

Bryan, who said he is paying for his hotel room said Wake County commissioners have always attended these types of conventions.

"We didn't choose the meeting to be in Hawaii," he said.

When asked if he could point to any tangible results from past conventions, Bryan said: "I can't speak to a specific example other than again, like working on the issues."

There are so many issues he said that one or two county officials cannot absorb them all.

When asked if he could see how there could be a perception problem, Bryan said he could see it, but he believes the trip is worth the cost.

Anticipating bad press, the National Association of County Commissioners said it has prepared talking points for its members to help deflect some of the criticism.

Bryan said he plans to get to the beach while in Hawaii, but said he does plan to go to all the meetings too.