CATHEDRAL CITY – Mayor Stan Henry has requested the City Council’s Travel Policy be placed on the study session this week for review and any possible revisions.

The current, eight-page policy was last revised in July 2012. Read and review it here.

“I asked for this to be placed on the agenda to make sure our practice is consistent with our policy, as a review, and to make sure we are budgeting properly, as cost for travel has increased,” Henry told Uken Report. “I see some minor adjustments, but nothing big. I think the approval process needs to be adjusted and each Councilmember needs to be accountable for (his or her) own travel.”

The City Council will convene in study session at 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 29 in the City Council Chambers.  Public Comment is limited to 3 minutes per person.

Normally, no action is taken on Study Session items; however, the City Council reserves the right to give specific policy direction and take specific action as necessary.

Councilmember Shelley Kaplan acknowledged that existing policy “is many years old and no longer reflects our procedures.”

Councilmember Mark Carnevale, who is seeking re-election in November, said the mayor’s call for a review of the travel policy is his effort to be transparent.

The policy, Carnevale said, is designed to keep overspending in check, to hold all Councilmembers accountable, and to be straightforward about it with the residents and taxpayers of Cathedral City.

“There is a watchdog group in Cathedral City,” Carnevale said. “Actually, I favor watchdog groups. They help hold me accountable. They make me a better person. I try to do my best and I think all members of the City Council do.”

Carnevale, first elected in 2014, said he rarely, if ever, uses a city-issued credit card.

Some members of the watchdog group to which Carnevale refers are highly active on social media frequently commenting on City Councilmembers’ travel, particularly Mayor Pro Tem Pettis.

Pettis told Uken Report that the only change he foresees in the currently Travel Policy is who approves — or doesn’t approve — certain travel requests.

“Currently, the Mayor approves all travel by the City Council and the Mayor Pro Tem approves the Mayor’s,” Pettis said. “Stan brought this forward saying that we are all adults and can handle our own travel.”

Councilmember John Aguilar said the chatter and hype around the review “is so interesting because the policy which is in the City Council packet is not proposing any changes … it is actually the current set of policies and procedures that have been in place since 2012.”

Aguilar went on to tell Uken Report, “I believe what happened was that Mayor Henry wanted to give the Council an opportunity to review the travel policy and make any suggested changes that they think might be in order since it’s been so long since there’s been a review the policy.”

And, he did not stop there.

“All the social media chatter,” Aguilar said, “is just much ado about nothing.”