Those three administrators drove much of the year in their personal vehicles, racking up 35,961 miles in fiscal year 2013. At around 55 cents a mile, the total reimbursement for the three totaled $20,652.
A department spokesman said he couldn't determine how much the department spent on mileage reimbursements, but a budget on the state comptroller's website showed a total budget for the department for reimbursements at around $30,000.
The state's business travel policy specifically discourages personal vehicle use, claiming it could get expensive. But the spokesman for DNR said the department granted these administrators special permission to use their own vehicles and get reimbursed.
A department spokesman says an analysis determined it would be more cost-effective. The reimbursement of more than $20,000 is less than the $27,000 the department says it estimated it would cost to use state vehicles.
The investigation also found several instances where administrators seemed to drive between their listed home and office and get reimbursed. But the department spokesman says all reimbursements have a reason and there must have been a reasonable explanation for the trips.
"If there was a mistake made and we didn’t catch it, the Comptroller’s office likely would have," spokesman Chris McCloud wrote in an e-mail.
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