Fifth Judicial District - Department of Correctional Services

DISTRICT POLICIES

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TITLE: Reimbursement Of Approved Expenses

POLICY

The Fifth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services (the "District") shall reimburse its employees and members of the District's Board of Directors and Advisory Committees for allowable travel and travel-related expenses at rates set by and consistent with provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (Article IX, Section 13) and the Iowa Department of Administrative Services (DAS).

Official travel out-of-state must receive prior approval from the Director or Assistant Director. Allowable reimbursement for out-of-state travel shall be at rates set by and consistent with provisions of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (Article IX, Section 13) and existing Iowa Department of Administrative Services (DAS) rules.

The District Board of Directors may set rates for non-bargaining employees, Board members and Advisory Committee members that differ from the above provisions.

Employees will use department vehicles when possible for all applicable travel and will only be reimbursed for personal vehicle mileage when no department vehicle is available for the necessary travel.

DEFINITIONS

Reimbursable Expenses - For the purpose of this section, reimbursable expenses shall be defined as expenses incurred by any District employee, member of the District's Board of Directors, or member of a District Advisory Committee for travel expenses incurred while on official departmental business, to include costs for transportation, meals eaten, and overnight lodging; for conference registration and tuition; and for approved miscellaneous expenses incurred while on official departmental business, or for the purpose of purchasing needed supplies for the District.

Official Domicile - The official domicile of an employee shall normally be the city or town in which the District office or facility to which the employee is assigned for primary work purposes is located. However, in the case of an employee who resides in a county other than the county in which the office/facility is located and primarily serves that county, and if the choice of residence facilitates the provision of services, the Director may designate an official domicile for that employee which is a city or town other than where the assigned office or facility is located. The county seat of the primary county served shall normally be designated as the official domicile of the employee.

The District reserves the right to designate the official domicile of an employee in a manner that provides maximum services for the area to be served.

Receipts - Receipts for all expenses (registration, travel, accommodations, meals, etc) must be sufficiently itemized so as to adequately support the purpose and propriety of the claim.

PROCEDURES

A. Mileage:

  1. The District shall reimburse its employees and members of the District's Board of Directors and Advisory Committees for authorized travel at the current rate set by the current Collective Bargaining Agreement and Iowa Department of Administrative Services (DAS) for mileage driven in personal vehicles. The current mileage reimbursement rate is $.39 per mile (Article IX, Section 13.A, Collective Bargaining Agreement).
  2. The mileage of the usually-traveled route shall be used as the maximum allowable for such travel, unless explained otherwise on the individual expense claim. The mileage may be taken from the vehicle trip odometer, the official state map issued by the Iowa Department of Transportation, from internet sites such as Map Qwest.
  3. Mileage driven by an employee from his/her residence to their official domicile for the purpose of reporting to work shall not be considered as an allowable expense. However, in cases in which the employee conducts official business without traveling to the official domicile or before arriving at the official domicile, mileage may be claimed from the first work stop to the last work stop, or from the first work stop to the official domicile, as appropriate. In the same manner, mileage driven by an employee from the official domicile to the last work stop prior to returning home may be claimed.
  4. If the point of departure and/or point of return is not the official domicile, the maximum reimbursable miles will be the lesser of the actual miles driven or the miles which would have been driven from the official domicile to/from the destination.
  5. When travel is over 60 miles and qualifies for an overnight stay but staff choose to commute instead of staying overnight in a motel, reimbursement will be limited to the lesser of the cost of commuting or the expected total cost of staying overnight, including dinner and breakfast meals which would have been otherwise allowed.

B. Meals:

  1. The District shall reimburse its employees and members of the District's Board of Directors and Advisory Committees at the current rates set by the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (Article IX, Section 13.B) and Iowa Department of Administrative Services (DAS) for meals purchased while the individual is away from his/her official domicile on authorized travel. Itemized receipts for all meals claimed must accompany the claim.
  2. The current meal reimbursement rates are as follows:
    • Breakfast$ 5.00
    • Lunch$ 8.00
    • Dinner$15.00
    •  $28.00
  3. In order for breakfast to be claimed, the work-related travel must require departure from the official domicile or eligible point of departure before 7:00 a.m. In order for dinner to be claimed, the work-related travel must cause or result in the return to the official domicile or eligible point of return after 6:00 p.m. Departure and return times must be included on any claim for breakfast or dinner.
  4. Employees may be reimbursed for the actual amount spent for meals up to the total limit of the meals for which they are eligible even when fewer than the eligible meals are claimed for any specific day. With prior approval, the maximum rate for meal reimbursement may be waived in cases when a meal requirement is mandated by the District.
  5. Meals are reimbursable only when employees are required to travel and when purchased outside the official domicile or outside the city of residence if different from the official domicile.
  6. Only food costs are reimbursable. Items such as gum, Rolaids, lip balm or bottle/can deposits are not eligible for reimbursement.
  7. Alcoholic beverages and "non-alcoholic" beer are not eligible for reimbursement.
  8. Tips and gratuities are eligible for reimbursement, but are to be included as part of the total meal cost and subject to the maximum allowable meal reimbursement rates.
  9. Charges for room service (when overnight stay is required) are eligible for reimbursement but must also be included as part of the total meal cost and subject to the maximum allowable meal reimbursement rates.
  10. Food items purchased from a grocery store or convenience store are reimbursable as long as the items were consumed by the employee within the time of day that the employee is eligible for a meal reimbursement. The accompanying receipt must clearly itemize and designate the food items for which reimbursement is being requested.
  11. If a meal is provided and included in the cost of a training registration fee or provided as part of attendance in a work-related activity (i.e. participation in a work group), the Department will not reimburse the cost of a meal chosen to be eaten elsewhere.

C. Overnight Lodging:

  1. The District shall reimburse its employees and members of the District's Board of Directors and Advisory Committees for lodging at the current rate set by the Collective Bargaining Agreement and Iowa Department of Administrative Services (DAS) for lodging obtained while the individual is away from his/her official domicile overnight on authorized travel.
  2. Reimbursement for in-state lodging will normally be at the established maximum in-state lodging reimbursement rate or the actual cost of lodging for a single room, whichever is less. The current established maximum in-state lodging reimbursement rate is $50.00 (plus applicable taxes) per day.
  3. Overnight lodging is reimbursable under the following circumstances:
    1. When the one-way distance between the official domicile or the residence (whichever is closest), to the training or travel destination is 60 or more miles away.
    2. Lodging the night before the event will be reimbursable if the employee would otherwise have to leave the official domicile or the residence (whichever is closest) prior to 6:00am in order to arrive at the start of the training session or to meet a scheduled appointment time.
    3. Anytime when staff is traveling and inclement weather moves in that makes travel on the road dangerous.
  4. Exceptions to the established maximum lodging reimbursement rate may be made by the District Director. An example of a circumstance where higher reimbursement rates may be approved by the Director is when an in-state conference is being held at a lodging facility which is above the State rate, and the individual stays at the facility where the conference is being held because he/she will not have accessible transportation. Written approval of reimbursement rates higher than the established rates must accompany the expense claim form. An example of a circumstance where lower reimbursement rates may be established by the Director is to permit multiple staff to attend a specific training session or corrections-related conference.
  5. The established maximum lodging reimbursement rate may also be waived under the following circumstances:
    1. In cases where a lodging requirement (specific motel) is mandated by the District.
    2. There is only one lodging facility in the city.
    3. The employee is staying in a town where there is a major event that limits available rooms in that city (i.e. state or county fairs, state tournaments, festivals, etc). In these three instances, to be considered for reimbursement over the defined maximum allowed, a written request with the explanation for the additional lodging reimbursement must be attached to the claim.
  6. For training held at Camp Dodge, staff needing overnight lodging are expected to stay in the rooms provided at the Camp, unless all rooms are filled. Exceptions must be approved by the Assistant Director, Division Manager, or District Director.
  7. If room charges have been set up to be billed directly to the Department, it is the responsibility of the employee to insure that all costs not related to the actual room charge, and any portion of the room rate that exceeds the reimbursable lodging limit, including applicable taxes on the excess room rate, are paid directly by the employee and not billed to the Department. This includes such items as local or long distance calls, fax machine service fees, in-room movies, room service charges and/or meals charged to the room. Any of these latter fees that could be eligible for reimbursement (i.e.long distance calls made to the office for work-related purposes, faxing charges for work-related documents, eligible meal costs) should then be claimed for reimbursement by the employee on an expense claim form.
  8. If a motel room is shared with someone else (i.e. from this district, another district or another state agency), the reimbursement rate is limited to one-half of the room rate, plus applicable taxes on the one-half share, up to the maximum reimbursable room rate, plus applicable taxes.
  9. Itemized receipts for all overnight lodging must accompany the expense claim.
  10. For a quick reference to use for locating a hotel or motel that will honor the maximum allowable reimbursement rate, the following website is provided by the State of Iowa: http://das.gse.iowa.gov/services/hotel_motel.html. This listing is not intended to guarantee that the use of the hotels or motels in this listing will result in full reimbursement of the single room lodging rates. Individuals choosing to stay at any hotel or motel that charges higher than $50.00 for single rooms, or the maximum allowable reimbursement rate set by the District Director will be responsible for the difference between the rate and the $50.00 (or maximum authorized amount) plus applicable taxes allowed.

D. Training/Conference Registration:

  1. The District shall reimburse its employees and members of the District's Board of Directors and Advisory Committees for the cost of registration for a conference, when attendance is approved in advance and when payment of the registration has not been made in advance by the District.
  2. All requests for attendance to conferences and training sessions shall be made on the District's "Training Request" form. The training request form shall be completed by the employee, and signed by the employee's immediate Supervisor. Approval of all requests for training shall be made by the field service Assistant Director for field service staff, by the residential Assistant Director for residential staff, and by the Division Manager for Administrative staff.
  3. In the event that the non-member registration fee is higher than the member registration fee, only the equivalent of the member registration shall be paid or reimbursed. Exceptions may be granted by the District Director (i.e. for Board Members to attend ICA or other professional corrections organizations that they would not otherwise be expected to be members of). Documentation of the approval for reimbursement of the non-member registration rate must be included with the expense claim.
  4. All requests for reimbursement for conference registration and related travel expenses shall be made on a separate expense claim labeled "Staff Development/Training". Receipts for conference registration payment and all other applicable receipts must accompany the expense claim. In addition, a copy of the completed and final "Request for Training" form must be attached to the expense claim. Reimbursement for training costs will not be made without accompaniment of this form.
  5. Special requests for the District to coordinate advance payment of or direct billing to the Department for training registrations, lodging and/or certain travel costs (i.e. airfare) may be submitted for the following circumstances:
    • When the registration fee is more costly (more than $100.00), or
    • When more than one staff person is attending the same training session, or
    • When travel involves airfare

    Requests for advance payment of training expenses or direct billing to the Department must be submitted by the immediate supervisor to the Assistant Director for field services staff, the Residential Division Manager for residential staff or the District Director for Administrative staff for approval. The completed "Training Request" form must be attached to the "Advance Payment Request" form before being submitted to the immediate Supervisor.

  6. For all training held at Camp Dodge, staff needing overnight lodging are expected to stay at the rooms provided at the Camp, unless all rooms are filled. Exceptions must be approved by the Assistant Director, Division Manager, or District Director.

E. Out-of-State Travel:

  1. Out-of-state travel and training must receive prior approval from the District Director or Assistant Director.
  2. Out-of-State travel, meals and lodging reimbursement shall be in accordance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement (Article IX, Section 13.C).
  3. Because current out-of-state lodging rules do not include maximum rate limitations, lodging selections for out-of-state travel must be pre-approved by the Director, Assistant Director, or Division Manager.
  4. The maximum meal reimbursement limits for out-of-state travel parallels the federal government's four-level structure, which currently is as follows:
     Level 1Level 2Level 3Level 4
      Breakfast$7.00$7.00$8.00$9.00
      Lunch$8.00$9.00$10.00$11.00
      Dinner$16.00$21.00$25.00$30.00
     $31.00$37.00$43.00$50.00

    A listing of the cities that correspond to each of the above levels is found at the following address: http://das.sae.iowa.gov/images/acct_docs/i3_misc/Out%20of%20State%20City%20Level.rtf

F. Miscellaneous Expenses/Supplies:

  1. Reimbursement may be given for miscellaneous expenses at the discretion of the District Director, Assistant Director, Division Manager or Administrative Officer. Itemized receipts must accompany all claims for such expenses.

G. Expense Claim Preparation:

  1. Each employee and member of the District's Board of Directors and Advisory Committee shall, except where otherwise authorized by the Director or the Board of Directors, pay reimbursable expenses when incurred and, on a monthly or bi-monthly basis, prepare a claim for reimbursement of these expenses by the District.
  2. Completed and approved expense claims shall be sent to the Administrative Office for payment. The period of claims should typically be from the 16th of the month to the 15th of the following month, except for cases in which the amount of the claim exceeds $100 in a half-month period, in which case the period of claim may be from the 16th to the last day of the month and from the first day of the month to the 15th.
  3. Claims for reimbursement must be received in the Administrative Office no later than five (5) days after the closing of the claim period, in order to insure timely processing. Non-training expense claims that are received by the 20th of the month will be processed and paid by the last day of the month. If the claims are received after the 20th, they will be processed and paid with the next months' claim (paid by the last day of the next month).
  4. When possible, training expense claims which are more than $200 will be processed by Administrative fiscal staff along with other bills payable, which typically occurs once a week.
  5. Under no circumstances will claims submitted after 90 days from the end of the fiscal year in which the reimbursable expenses were incurred, be approved for reimbursement without justifiable cause for the delay (i.e. hospitalization or other approved medical leaves of absences.)
  6. The claimant shall be responsible for completing his/her claim, insuring that all applicable information is provided and correct.

H. Approval of Claims:

  1. Expense claims of all employees except the District Director shall require the approval of the immediate supervisor of the employee. In the absence of the immediate supervisor, the expense claims shall require approval as follows: by the Assistant Director for residential staff; by the Assistant Director for field service staff; and by the District Director for Administrative staff and in the absence of the Assistant Director.
  2. Expense claims of the District Director shall require the approval of the Administrative Officer.
  3. Expense claims of all members of the District's Advisory Committees shall be approved by the supervisory staff member who is responsible for the meeting.

I. Auditing of Claims:

  1. Prior to payment, all expense claims shall be audited by the Administrative Officer or designee.
  2. Each expense claim shall be audited for the following:
    1. Miles claimed are reasonable and appropriate.
    2. Meals, lodging, registration fees and other miscellaneous expenses are properly supported by receipts.
    3. Meals and lodging do not exceed current meal and lodging maximums or other preauthorized amounts.
    4. Lodging is eligible for reimbursement.
    5. Claims are mathematically correct.
    6. The claims are signed by the employee and approved by the supervisor (Division Manager, Assistant Director or District Director in the absence of the supervisor).
  3. Each expense claim shall be immediately stamped "Paid" with a stamp that also includes a place to document the check number and date of the check that will be issued for payment of the expense claim.
  4. After claims have been audited, the Administrative Officer, or designee, shall code the claims to the proper expenditure accounts and cost centers. The following account codes shall be used:
    • 7150 Mileage for routine travel or staff meetings. Includes parking ramp fees.
    • 7165 Meals incurred during routine travel not involving an overnight stay.
    • 7175 Mileage, meals, lodging and registration fees associated with staff development and training sessions attended.

J. Payment of Claims:

  1. Checks for payment of approved and audited expense claims shall be included on the next paycheck. The only exception is those paid after the fiscal year has ended.
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