The Orange County Transportation Agency is field testing a new expense policy, with real-world expenses. And when it came time, each of the three members who traveled to New York to meet with Investment and Bond Rating firms applied the rules slightly differently.

One member opted to accept a flat-rate reimbursement, and to avoid conflicts of interest, he wrote a check to the various corporations and firms that paid for meals and entertainment along the way. Another member chose to simply reimburse the companies for her meals and not taking the flat-rate per diem. The third accepted the per diem and did not reimburse the companies, instead choosing to disclose conflicts on next year’s Form 700.

From the Voice of Orange County:

Three members of the Orange County Transportation Authority board conducted a test run of sorts of a new agency expense account policy when they traveled to New York in June for wine-and-dine meetings with investment and bond rating firms.

In previous years whenever board members traveled, they filed expense reports that itemized meals and other items they wanted reimbursed. Under the board’s new policy, members may instead accept a flat-rate reimbursement at whatever rate the Internal Revenue Service allows.

Most meals and entertainment, except breakfast, are paid for by the investment and rating firms. Officials who accept them must report the food, Broadway show and other entertainment as gifts on their mandatory conflict-of-interest forms next year.

Read the full article here.