LB city auditor to review Harbor commissioners’ travel expenses

Long Beach City Auditor Laura Doud’s office has begun looking into overseas travel by the five-member Long Beach Harbor Commission in the last two years and will decide, based on the results of that investigation, whether to delve further into those travel expenses.
In an email issued by 5th District Councilmember Gerrie Schipske, she said she called on Doud to include a review of travel expenses spent by non-commissioners traveling on Port dollars during an audit of travel expenses of the Board of Harbor Commissioners.
“I think the public needs a full accounting of how the Port of Long Beach has spent funds on travel and who have been the recipients of these funds,” Schipske said. “Harbor commissioners have a specific duty to help expand trade relations with other countries and the shipping industry, and their travel is justified. Other travel is highly questionable.”
Schipske added that unless wrongdoing can be proven concerning the current Board President Thomas Fields, “it appears there is a witch hunt going on against a commissioner who dared disagree with the current mayor about where to locate the Port headquarters. This continual politicization of the Port of Long Beach is causing serious harm in the shipping community and it needs to stop.”
Doud confirmed, in an emailed statement, that her office will indeed investigate the matter. “As a result of the information the City Council and the Budget Oversight Committee received related to travel expenses at the Long Beach Harbor Department, my office has initiated a review of a sample of international travel taken by each Harbor commissioner during fiscal years 2012 and 2013,” Doud said. “Based on the results of this review, I will determine if there is cause for an expanded review of travel expenses and will consider a scope of work at that time. I cannot comment on the specifics of this or any other review while it is in progress.”

Sources: Schipske’s office, Doud’s office

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