Pursuant to M.G.L. c. 32 § 20 (4 7/8)(c) and the Retirement Board Travel Regulations, 840 CMR 2.0 et seq., promulgated by the Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission ("PERAC"), the Massachusetts Port Authority Employees' Retirement System ("MPAERS") shall reimburse Board members and staff of the Massachusetts Port Authority Employees' Retirement Board ("the Board") for any expense that is actually incurred by said Board members and staff incident to the conduct of MPAERS business and that is: (a) properly authorized by the Board; (b) documented in accordance with these guidelines; (c) reasonable in amount; (d) reasonably necessary for the conduct of MPAERS business; and (e) otherwise consistent with these guidelines.
All reimbursement for travel and related business expenses must be approved by the Board at a regularly scheduled or special meeting in which the request for authorization for such travel and expense reimbursement was made part of the agenda, discussed in open session. and approved by a majority vote of the Board members present and voting. The meeting minutes shall reflect the Board's action and the extent of the authorization. Wherever possible, detailed expenses will be submitted in advance for authorization. Where detailed expenses are not known with precision, a good faith estimate may be submitted for consideration and authorization.
As part of the board approval process, a Travel Authorization Voucher (TAV) form (see Appendix 1) must be completed for all travel involving air travel and/or overnight lodging. TAV forms will be included in board packets and reviewed as part of the approval process. The total estimated cost of the trip, including estimates for airfare, hotel, rental car, seminar/conference registration fees, and other anticipated expenses, should be detailed on the TAV.
Cash advances in anticipation of travel expenses shall not be permitted.
2. Expense Reports:
Expense Reports must be submitted by Board members and staff for all expenses incurred in connection with MPAERS travel and business meetings (see Appendix 2) for which said Board members and staff seek reimbursement. Staff will assist Board Members in completing the required forms; however, the documentation necessary to complete said forms must be submitted to the Retirement Board Coordinator within a reasonable amount of time, but not later than 60 business days after the expenses have been incurred. Upon completion of the Expense Report, it shall be reviewed for completeness and accuracy by the Board or staff member requesting reimbursement, who shall then sign the Expense Report.
The signature of the Board or staff member seeking the reimbursement constitutes a statement under the penalties of perjury that, to the best of said Board or staff member's knowledge and belief, the information contained in the report and any attachments is accurate and complete, and the expenses listed in the report were actually incurred and were incurred in good faith in the belief that they were reasonably necessary and appropriate in connection with the conduct of MPAERS business.
Following execution by the Board or staff member requesting reimbursement, the Expense Report shall be reviewed and signed by the Director of Retirement. The Director of Retirement's signature on the expense report constitutes his/her acknowledgement that he/she has reviewed the reported expenditures and has verified that such expenses appear to be reasonable, are in accordance with MPAERS policy, and have been previously authorized by the Board. The authorizing signature of the Treasurer-Custodian on the expense report is required prior to any reimbursement being processed.
A. Expense Report Documents
At a minimum, the following documents should be attached to the completed Expense Report (see Appendix 2):
1. A copy of the approved TAV (see Appendix 1), with appropriate attachments (e.g., description of the purpose and destination of the trip, estimate of costs, documentation of the need for a rental car if applicable);
2. A completed Description of Expenses form (see Appendix 3);
3. Original, itemized expense receipts, including receipts for air travel (see below) and, if necessary, completed Missing Receipt Forms (see Appendix 4). Receipts are required for individual expenses over $10. Travel-related expenses that are under $10 (such as gratuities) should be fully described and will be reimbursed based on the Board or staff member's certification that the expenses were necessary and incidental to the approved travel;
4. If necessary, a Mileage/Tolls Log (see Appendix 5);
5. If necessary, a completed Cost Savings Form (see Appendix 6); and
6. Any other relevant documentation.
B. Documentation of Business Purpose
Both the nature and business purpose of an expense must be sufficiently detailed and documented to withstand the scrutiny of an audit. General descriptions of the business purpose of an expense, such as "business lunch,” "business expense,” or "a meeting to discuss MPAERS issues,” are not acceptable descriptions of the business purpose.
Itemized receipts must be attached to the expense report for all expenses for which receipts are normally obtainable (e.g., lodging, meals, taxis). Appropriate receipts for airline travel shall consist of the itinerary provided by the travel agent and the airline passenger ticket receipt and/or e-ticket. Receipts should not be individually attached to the expense report but should be stapled to a sheet of paper and attached to the report. If receipts are lost or otherwise not available, a completed Missing Receipt Form (see Appendix 4), which provides written explanation of their unavailability, must be attached to the expense report to satisfy the documentation requirement. Reimbursement may be withheld for expenses not properly documented.
D. Mileage/Tolls Documentation
If a Board or staff member uses his or her personal vehicle for MPAERS business purposes, he or she will be reimbursed as authorized under the Internal Revenue Code, as amended ("IRC"), plus reasonable parking costs and tolls. This mileage rate is an all-inclusive rate covering reimbursement for all operating expenses including gasoline, insurance, maintenance, and rental cars. Therefore, gasoline expense is not separately reimbursable and any rental car costs incurred within the Greater Boston area while a Board or staff member's car is not available due to maintenance, physical damage, or other reasons are not separately reimbursable. Damage to a Board or staff member's car while on MPAERS business is also that individual's responsibility. The amount to be reimbursed for use of a personal automobile may not exceed the cost of alternate means of transportation (e.g., economy air fare).
The current IRC mileage rate may be obtained by contacting the Retirement Board Coordinator.
Expenses for tolls and mileage for the Board or staff member's personal vehicle must be documented on the Mileage/Tolls Log (see Appendix 5) in order to be reimbursed.
E. Credit Cards
If necessary, a Board or staff member's personal credit card shall be used when charging any business-related travel expenses. Reimbursement will be made after submitting an Expense Report and all relevant receipts.
III. TRAVEL AND LODGING ARRANGEMENTS
Travel arrangements or accommodations must be consistent with the class of travel and accommodations normally provided for MPAERS travel which are standard business travel accommodations. Air travel is expected to be at an economy fare (i.e., less than first class and less than business class), and Board and staff members are required to obtain the lowest airfare reasonably available consistent with normal travel arrangements, taking into consideration such factors as availability, price, proximity, and other special needs (e.g., conference and meeting facilities). The Retirement Board Coordinator will use the MPAERS' American Express travel account to book and pay for airline tickets on behalf of Board and staff members.
If hotel reservations have been made, but the trip is canceled or postponed, it is the traveling Board or staff member's responsibility to take such actions as may be required to avoid charges to MPAERS for unused accommodations.
IV. AUTOMOBILE RENTALS
The source of rental cars should be a national agency. Automobile rental costs must be documented on the TAV.
Optional collision and/or damage insurance coverage shall be accepted when renting a vehicle. These charges will be reimbursed upon submission of a properly completed Expense Report.
V. COMBINING PERSONAL AND BUSINESS TRAVEL
When travel combines business and personal purposes, Board and staff members will only be reimbursed for the business-related portion of such travel, and all expenses for which reimbursement is sought from MPAERS must be properly documented as to their business purpose.
Additional lodging and meal expenses incurred by an employee who chooses to arrive at a destination early (e.g. arrive Saturday for a Monday conference) or depart later (e.g., depart Sunday evening for a conference which ended on Friday) are considered to be personal and will not be reimbursed. However, upon prior submission to and approval by the Board of the Cost Savings Form (see Appendix 6), a MPAERS Board or staff member may arrive early or depart later in order to take advantage of a reduced airfare and cost savings to MPAERS. In this instance, reasonable lodging and meal expenses incurred on the additional days shall be reimbursable, but limited to the amount of the cost savings or the amount of expenses necessarily incurred in order to create the cost savings. Costs in excess of the cost savings will be considered the Board or staff member's personal expense and will not be reimbursable. For example, if a Board staff member arrives Saturday for a Monday conference (instead of arriving Sunday night) and, as a result, saves $400 in airfare, MPAERS will reimburse the Board staff member up to the amount of the additional costs incurred as a result of arriving early (e.g., hotel and meal charges for Saturday and meals on Sunday). In this example, if the Board staff member chose to arrive on Friday whereas the cost savings could have been achieved by arriving on Saturday, any additional costs incurred in connection with the Friday arrival (hotel and meal charges, for example) would be deemed personal to the Board staff member and not reimbursable. To be eligible for reimbursement, additional costs incurred must be reasonable, within the meal expense limits set forth in this policy, and must be directly related to the Board or staff member's ability to obtain a lower airfare within a reasonable timeframe.
When, for personal reasons, family members of a Board or staff member accompany him/her on a business trip, the amount of reimbursable travel expenses may be no greater than the cost that the Board or staff member would have incurred traveling alone.
If a Board or staff member is authorized to rent a vehicle and combines business and personal purposes, only the business portion of the car rental costs are reimbursable.
When a Board or staff member chooses to combine a personal air trip to another city with MPAERS business trip, the Board or staff member will be reimbursed only for the cost of direct travel to and from the business destination.
MPAERS will reimburse the reasonable cost of meals that are reasonably necessary in connection with MPAERS business. The maximum amounts that may be reimbursed for such costs will be $10 per person for breakfasts, $15 per person for lunches, and $25 per person for dinners, plus the amount of a reasonable gratuity, which should generally be 15-20% of the cost of the meal. Reimbursement in excess of these amounts is allowable for travel to high-cost locations.
No reimbursements will be made for expenses incurred for alcohol at meals or other events.
Business telephone calls are reimbursable (e.g., calls to MPAERS offices), while personal telephone calls are not reimbursable …
Board and staff members are expected to use the least expensive method for placing calls reasonably available.
VIII. NON-REIMBURSABLE EXPENSES
The following expense items are not allowable/reimbursable:
1. expenses for alcohol;
2. cost of airline club memberships;
3. fines for traffic/parking violations;
4. cost of Accident (Flight) insurance;
5. cost of damage to a Board or staff member's vehicle while on MPAERS business;
6. cleaning and laundry costs, except for reasonable cleaning and laundry costs incurred during travel where the duration of the trip exceeds three nights;
7. personal entertainment costs, including, for example, greens fees or other charges for golf, charges for in-room movies and in-room liquor;
8. purchased items/services of a personal nature; and
9. lost/stolen/damaged personal effects or belongings including, e.g., baggage, cash, or airline tickets.