Whereas the importance of continuing education is recognized, and the need for a broader pension perspective may be gained through a collaborative association with other Retirement Boards and administrators within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and throughout the nation, the following travel supplemental regulations are herewith set forth and enacted by the Concord Retirement Board, and shall govern travel procedures for any and all Concord Retirement Board Members and Board Staff, in accordance with G.L. c. 7, § 50 and G.L. c. 32 § 21 (4).
Authorization for Travel
The Concord Retirement Board shall pay for or reimburse Board Members and Board Staff for all travel and lodging expenses, except as specifically authorized in these guidelines for expenses related to legitimate speaking engagements.
- Travel and related expenses shall be approved by the Board in advance of any travel by means of a “Request for Travel” form completed by Board Members or Board Staff and shall be placed on a Board meeting agenda, discussed in open session, and approved by a majority vote of the Members of the Board present and voting. The nature of the travel, its purpose and estimated cost shall be duly noted on the travel authorization request form. The Board meeting minutes shall reflect the Board’s action and the extent of the authorization.
A statement describing the presentation, conference or seminar shall be entered into the Board minutes of the meeting following any travel.
- The “Reimbursement” form shall include a statement by the traveler, certifying that the expenses were incidental to the approved travel. All requests for reimbursement shall be completed and approved after incurring any travel, transportation, meal, or other travel-related expenses and before reimbursement takes place.
- Original itemized receipts shall be submitted for all expenses within 30 days of authorized travel or such extended time frame as PERAC may permit under 840 CMR 2.04(4), including transportation, lodging, and other expenses incidental to travel, such as meals and parking, etc..
- Gratuities shall be fully described and reimbursed based on the traveler’s certification that the expenses were necessary and incidental to the approved travel. Any travel-related expenditures which have not been properly documented or approved, or do not conform to the Board’s regulations, shall be rejected or adjusted.
Payments/Reimbursements by Third Parties and Penalties for Violation
- Reimbursement shall only be made to the person who actually made payment for the expense.
- The Reimbursement Request Form must be signed by the person seeking reimbursement, and signed under the pains and penalties of perjury.
- Responsibility for making all travel arrangements lies with the traveler(s). When making travel arrangements, government rates or business rates will be secured whenever they shall apply.
- An extended stay may be authorized if the net cost to the Board will be lower. (i.e., airline fare is lowered by staying an extra day and the cost of accommodations and meals for the extra day results in a net savings to the Board).
- The most cost-effective transportation method shall be utilized at all times. Whenever air travel is deemed necessary, it shall be at the lowest rate available, generally economy/coach fare. The Board may determine that certain routing criteria is to be implemented; i.e., a requirement that there be no more than one interim stop each way, no more than one scheduled air plane transfer each way; and allowing for reasonable departure and arrival times.
- Airline Club Memberships for travel are hereby prohibited for travel by Board Members and Board Staff.
- Rental cars must be leased from a national rental agency. It shall be the responsibility of the traveler(s) to arrange the travel and to negotiate the rental rate. Rental cars shall be compact or mid-size sedans, whichever best accommodates and is most cost-effective for the number of Board Members or Board Staff traveling to and from the same destination. It shall also be the traveler’s responsibility to verify that the rate charged for the vehicle is the rate that was originally negotiated by the traveler(s).
- It shall be a requirement of all Board Members or Board Staff leasing vehicles incidental to travel, to procure optional insurance coverage for rental vehicles.
- Any motor vehicle accidents which may occur while using a rental vehicle during Board-approved travel shall be reported as soon as practicable, in writing to the appropriate law enforcement authority, with copies of all such reports provided to the Board at their next scheduled Board meeting.
- Reimbursement for fines or other expenses incurred as a result of traffic violations or parking tickets for illegal parking during Board-approved travel is hereby prohibited. The traveler is personally responsible for all such expenses.
- Use of personal vehicles for Board-approved travel shall be reimbursed at the most current IRS approved mileage rate.
- Parking fees and toll charges shall be reimbursed provided the original itemized receipt is submitted with the reimbursement form.
- All reservations for accommodations shall be made in advance by the traveler(s). It is the traveler’s responsibility to verify that the rate charged is the rate originally negotiated by the traveler(s).
- Lodging accommodations shall be made at the lowest available and appropriate level (single vs. double, queen or king) rate, and most cost-effective for the number of Board Members or Board Staff needing lodging accommodations.
- Maximum daily allowance towards breakfast shall be $8.00.
- Maximum daily allowance towards lunch shall be $12.00.
- Maximum daily allowance towards dinner shall be $18.00.
- Reimbursement in excess of the above allowable amounts for travel to high-cost locations may be considered by the Board.
- If reimbursement is sought for meal expenses for others, these individuals are to be identified along with their affiliation and a description of the purpose of the meeting. Reimbursement shall be considered and made only for meetings that are for business purposes.
- Reimbursement sought for lodging and meals included in the cost of
registration fees for conferences or seminars shall be prohibited.
Miscellaneous Reimbursable/Non-Reimbursable Expenses
- Telephone expenses are limited to Board-related calls only.
- Costs for faxing and/or copying while traveling to conferences and/or seminars shall be reimbursable provided they are business-related, and requires submitting the proper supporting documentation.
- Personal expenses, i.e., in-room movies, mini-bar charges, gym fees, entertainment or recreational expenses, laundry and dry-cleaning, and any payments for personal services shall not be reimbursable.
- Reimbursement for alcoholic beverages is strictly prohibited.
- Cash advances in connection with anticipated expenses are strictly prohibited.
- Credit cards for use by Retirement Board Members will not be issued.
Personal Travel Combined with Board-Related Travel
- If personal travel is combined with Board-related travel, the personal portion of the trip shall be clearly identified and paid for by the traveler. Travel expenses or any other expenses incurred by a spouse, relative, friend or other individual accompanying a Board Member or Staff Member will be considered to be personal travel and will, in no event, be a proper expense of the Retirement Board.
Payments or Reimbursements for Expenses by Third Parties
- Providing to, or receipt by a Board Member or Staff Member, of anything of substantial value, as determined by the State Ethics Commission, from any person, firm, partnership or other entity which may be reasonably expected to seek to do business with or is seeking to do business with, or presently is doing business with a Retirement Board or any person, firm or other entity that solicits or makes referrals or which may be reasonably expected to solicit or make referrals of any client on behalf of such a person, firm, partnership or other entity is strictly prohibited. In instances where a Board Member or Staff Member participates in a legitimate speaking engagement, the Board shall pay all costs and expenses related to such speaking engagement, provided that the Board Member or Staff Member complies with all of the Board’s travel regulations herein listed. The Board may accept reimbursement for such travel-related expenses of a Board Member or Staff Member from a third party, only under the following limited circumstances.
- Board Members or Board Staff may participate in legitimate speaking engagements in connection with their positions on the Retirement Board, and thus may accept reimbursements from third parties necessary to cover travel-related expenses.
- Acceptance of an honorarium or any other form of compensation is strictly prohibited.
- To be considered a legitimate speaking engagement, the presentation must be formally scheduled on the agenda of a conference or seminar.
- The speaking engagement must be scheduled in advance of the Board Member or Staff Member’s arrival at the event.
- The presentation must be before an organization which would normally have outside speakers address them at such an event.
- The presentation must not be perfunctory, and should significantly contribute to the event, taking into account such factors as the length of the speech or presentation, the size of the audience, and the extent to which the speaker is providing substantive or unique information or viewpoints.
- The Retirement Board can be reimbursed by a third party for expenses only to the extent necessary for making the speech or presentation.
- Under no circumstances can a Board Member or Staff Member receive reimbursement or any other payment or compensation from a third party.
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