The City Council has adopted a written policy on travel expenses, after a crusading homeowner challenged some of the expenses and the reporting procedures of the council.

City Manager John Longley said there had not been a "disciplined" enforcement of travel reports, but he categorically denied any wrongdoing.

"We have a total and complete accounting of all spending," he said. "The council wished to have a more stringent policy. We now have as stringent a policy as I have seen in any city."

Longley said the new policy calls for: any staff travel to be approved beforehand; council members to stay within their $3,000 annual budget; reports to be filed within 10 days of return; air travel to be limited to coach class, and meal expenses to be the average price items on a menu.

Quintin Leonhardi, a 69-year-old retired chef and an unsuccessful City Council candidate last year, said he is still not satisfied and said he will continue to make city officials account for their spending of tax dollars.

"It was nothing more than putting on a cosmetic face," Leonhardi said. "They just scratch each other's back."

Councilman Hugh T. (Bud) Smith, who had asked for council consideration of a written policy on expense reporting, said he was not completely satisfied, but "it was a step in the right direction."

He said he will introduce a motion during budget review to eliminate individual travel budgets, and instead have one fund from which council members would draw. He said any traveling would have to be approved by the council.

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