French Settlement Mayor Toni Guitreau

French Settlement Mayor Toni Guitreau said the village will continue review of the policy on per diem pay during out-of-town travel for employees. 

FRENCH SETTLEMENT -- The Board of Aldermen agreed April 10 to further review the village’s per diem pay policy before they decide whether they will change it.

An officer with the village police department requested per diem advances based on the distance they travel out of town on municipal business.

The current policy, implemented in 2014, allows a $30 daily advance for meals when the police and other municipal employees attend conventions or classes that require overnight travel.

The village reimburses up to $45 that comes out of the employee’s pocket, but only if they present a receipt. The current policy does not mandate a receipt for the first $30.

The policy follows guidelines implemented by the General Services Administration (GSA), an independent agency that helps to manage and support basic functions of federal government agencies. GSA sets standard rates on agency reimbursement, such as the mileage reimbursement pay when government employees use their own vehicles.

Under local policy, the reimbursement amount is less on the last day of the business trip.

Out-of-town travel is not common for municipal workers, but police officers must undergo training each year through the federal Department of Justice as a prerequisite to retain certification by the Peace Officer Standards and Training Council (POST), which is required through state government. POST certification is a prerequisite for police officers to carry a firearm.

The training is free, Assistant Police Chief Lawrence Callendar said. Some offer free lodging and food, while others do not.

Alderman Rhonda Lobell said she believes the village policy is excessive. She recommended the village consider guidelines implemented by the Internal Revenue Service.

A resident at the meeting who works for a Fortune 500 company told the board she receives only a $55 day per diem from her employer.

The board will continue discussion on the item at the May 8 meeting.  

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