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Hey, Big Spender

The Knoxville News Sentinel breaks a story today about extravagant spending from the humble public servants of Knox County.

Do any of you spend over $300 for dinner at a restaurant? Sounds like John Edwards “Two Americas”. Like John Stossel says, “It’s your money”.

From the News Sentinel:

County Commission Finance Committee Chairman Paul Pinkston blasted the county mayor’s staff Thursday night over credit card expenses for meals in Knox County, travel and one trip that included a charge of $917 for a hotel stay in Beverly Hills, Calif.

The credit card expenses dominated the commission’s agenda during a public hearing on the budget – expenses that totaled $715,537.51 over a period of less than three weeks.

Those charges are for the use of all 350 credit cards issued to employees across the county, including school workers and those in other departments.

A $187 charge to Club LeConte by Cynthia Finch, the senior director of community services.

A $351.15 charge to Morton’s of Chicago in Nashville by Ragsdale.

A $322.61 charge to the Palm Restaurant in Nashville by Ragsdale.

A $290.96 charge to Morton’s of Chicago in Nashville by Finance Director John Werner.

A $322.61 charge to the Palm Restaurant of Nashville by Werner.

4 Responses to “Hey, Big Spender”

  1. #9 Says:

    For a counterpoint you can check out Randy Neal here who says these are acceptable entertainment expenses.

    We disagree.

    The article mentions restaurant tabs ranging from, gasp, $187 to $351 at various upscale restaurants. So what? There are a couple of business related dinner tabs for over $500 on my books. Big deal. T&E is a cost of doing business. And I’m not even in charge of a $600+ million operation serving 400,000+ customers.

  2. Blounttruth Says:

    As someone who last year ended a long career traveling and rubbing shoulders with some wealthy business owners I have to agree. When I took clients out for dinner which usually included some of their staff trying to tie up million dollar plus deals I didnít want to take them to Burger King, and as anyone who ever laid eyes on my Blog (I would guess very few) you know I certainly would be the last to protect (or praise) a politician.
    Ruth’s Chris steak house will run roughly $50.00 per person for dinner. Add appetizers and desert and your looking at closer to $100.00 plus per person. 4 peep = $400.00 or more, and thatís before drinks!
    Living in Blount County I see Knox County spending listed above as acceptable, and truly question some of the folks that want a civic center in Blount County…. Must be because Knoxville’s civic center brings in the record amounts of revenue that it does.


  3. Drake Says:

    I wouldn’t mention too much about Ruth’s Chris right now. They are getting a sweetheart deal from the city as it is.

    Personally I think is there not middle ground for these expenses? No one is saying Burger King, but the above amounts are high and deserve scrutiny in a time when most Americans are bitching about gas and that trickle down effect. There has to be a moderate expenditure when dealing with public money, in my opinion.

    Besides, once these public officials get a tiny taste, it becomes easier the next time to take a little bit more, and then a little bit more and so forth.

    The travel pay is prime example of their sense of entitlement. They knew what they were getting when they took the job, public service is not about making money.

  4. Hyrum Says:

    This is all ridiculous. I can’t believe we have let our government get away with spending our money like that.

Remember, I do this to entertain me, not you.

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