COLUMBIA — Third Ward candidate Gary Kespohl released a campaign ad this week that publicly criticizes incumbent Karl Skala about the travel expenses he accrued during his first three-year term.
The ad says, "Skala has been on a three-year, taxpayer-funded spending junket — traveling and eating like a king." The Johnny Cash song "I've Been Everywhere" plays in the ad, too.
Skala defended his spending, saying the expenses were legitimate. A portion of his travel was to attend conferences of the National League of Cities which has met in New Orleans; Orlando, Fla.; San Antonio; and other locations over the past three years.
Council travel budgets from city records show that Skala spent more than other council members on travel during each of his first three years on the council. Each ward representative is allotted $4,500, while the mayor is given $10,000 for travel expenses.
There are guidelines for these expenses but no specific rules. The Finance Department determines if expenses that exceed the suggested amount are justified.
Kespohl said he feels city officials should be more specific when spending taxpayer money.
Should a moratorium be put on city expenses? What do you think of Kespohl's ad targeting Skala's travel?