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Barbour denied travel expenses

Cape Gazette of Lewes, Delaware

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Former commissioner requested more than $11,000

A justice of the peace has ruled a former Rehoboth Beach commissioner is not entitled to reimbursement of more than $11,000 in travel expenses.

Former nonresident Commissioner Dennis Barbour filed a lawsuit against the city and City Manager Greg Ferrese after Ferrese denied Barbour's request for reimbursement.

"I'm happy with the judge's decision," Ferrese said. "I have no qualms at all about what I did in denying payment to him."

Justice of the Peace Christopher Bradley ruled Barbour is not considered a nonresident entitled to travel expense reimbursement and agreed with the city's argument that Barbour was a Delaware resident because he registered his car here, pays taxes in Delaware and voted here in the 2010 elections.

Barbour submitted his reimbursement bill a few months after he withdrew his candidacy for re-election. He based his bill in excess of $11,000 on a mileage rate of 50 cents per mile for 118-mile trbs from his Washington, D.C. residence to Rehoboth Beach. 'I thought that was totally wrong," Ferrese said. "Why didn't he bring this up in one of our tudget sessions? I've been here since 1983 - 29 years. Not one commissioner has ever requested reimbursement, period."

The City of Rehaboth Beach allows for ip to three nonresident commissioners to sit on its sevei-member board.

The city charter states nonresident commissioners are entitled to an allowance for every mile driven from the commissioner's permanent residence to commissioner meetings and committee meetings. Ferrese said he believes this provision should be deleted because no one has ever requested it, and deleting it would prevent future problems.

"If you run for office and you live outside the city, then you should be willing to pay for your own transportation," he said.

Mayor Sam Cooper declined to comment on the ruling. Barbour could not be reached for comment.

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Original Publication Date: January 3, 2012

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