In 2010, Santa Fe City Councilor Rebecca Wurzburger spent $4,878.14 of the city's money for travel—in spite of what fellow Councilor Patti Bushee describes as a "strong commitment" among city officials to refrain from incurring extra travel costs.
"We made a commitment—no travel for the city—and I think most everybody's been keeping to that," Bushee tells SFR. "We've tried to exclude travel even for staff that needs to go renew certifications."
SFR requested travel expenses for all eight city councilors and for Mayor David Coss—but Wurzburger's total is by far the heftiest. Coss, with $2,405.36 in travel expenses, came in second, followed by City Manager Robert Romero ($547.56) and Bushee, who attended a xeriscaping conference in Albuquerque ($309.60).
Wurzburger has said her most expensive excursion, a December 2010 trip to China costing nearly $3,000, is worth the international tourism attention Santa Fe stands to gain.
Bushee still has concerns.
"Honestly, we have convention center people and tourism folks we're not even allowing to do that kind of travel," she notes. "It's just a budgetary concern right now."