Guerra defends travel habits of Council

DOWNEY - Councilman Mario Guerra on Tuesday responded to a published report that claimed Downey city council members exceeded their annually allotted travel budget, calling the story untrue and a "petty, political non-issue."In a story published April 29, the Herald-American claimed council members Guerra, Luis Marquez and Roger Brossmer exceeded a yearly travel budget of $2,400 each. Mayor Anne Bayer is quoted in the story as saying city business in Sacramento or Washington, D.C. can be conducted by city-paid lobbyists or staff members. City Manager Gerald Caton, however, told the Downey Patriot last week that $20,000 in travel expenses was budgeted for 2009-10, and only $16,736 had been used, putting council members at below budget for the fiscal year ending June 30. Reading from a statement at Tuesday's City Council meeting, Guerra said traveling to Sacramento or Washington, D.C. is part of a council member's responsibility. "It is na?Øve and irresponsible for an elected official in Downey to not work hard on behalf of our community," Guerra said. "Lack of involvement and travel shows a lack of concern and neglect." Although he did not mention specific names, Guerra seemed to be referring to Bayer in his remarks. "Four of our City Council members share the view that we work hard for Downey and taking time from our personal lives is part of the call to serve on the City Council," he continued. "To not answer this call to serve Downey is being lazy at best and neglectful of our duties at the very least. Look at our record and you can easily see who works for our city and who doesn't. Lack of participation and engagement is a waste for our community." Bayer did not respond to Guerra's comments.

********** Published: May 14, 2010 - Volume 9 - Issue 4