A report from the Missouri State Auditor found that Governor Mike Parson did not follow travel policies when serving as Lieutenant Governor. According to the report, the then-Lieutenant Governor’s office did not prepare documentation justifying the purchase of two vehicles, and the need for these vehicles was questionable because they were infrequently used. In addition, the office did not maintain sufficient vehicle usage logs and other documentation.
In the report, the state auditor noted that staff in the Lieutenant Governor’s Office did not make use of the Trip Optimizer, a tool offered to state agencies for determining the most cost-effective travel option between rental, state-owned vehicles, and mileage reimbursement.
Of the lieutenant governor’s 118 mileage-reimbursed trips, the office did not prepare a Trip Optimizer report or other cost calculation for 40. For 47 of the 78 trips where a Trip Optimizer report was prepared, the report indicated a fleet vehicle or rental vehicle would have been a lower-cost option than personal mileage reimbursement.
In addition, the Lieutenant Governor’s Office purchased two vehicles in November 2017 and 2018. Previously, employees primarily used unassigned fleet vehicles for travel. However, then-Lieutenant Governor Parson primarily traveled with his personal vehicle, and these two new vehicles were underutlized. Parson’s successor disposed of one of these vehicles shortly after taking office.
The state auditor recommended that the Office of the Lieutenant Governor follow all travel policies and state travel regulations, which require all state employees to use the most cost-effective method of travel or maintain documentation for those times that a higher-cost travel method is required. The report also recommended that vehicle utilization and cost of ownership are considered, especially in comparison to other travel methods. Employees are also recommended to maintain accurate vehicle usage logs and periodically review the logs for completeness.
The full report is available here.