Travel & Training

The City of Atlanta generally pays for travel by city officials and employees in an official capacity.  On occasion, the City may accept a gift of travel when it is connected with official city business, and an individual may accept the reimbursement of reasonable travel expenses from a prohibited source in connection with teaching, a speaking engagement, participation on a professional or civic panel, or attendance at a conference in an official capacity.

Travel Paid by Prohibited Sources

Individuals may accept expense reimbursements for reasonable hosting expenses from prohibited sources in only four situations.  The travel must be in connection with the individual’s teaching, a speaking engagement, participating on a professional or civic panel, or attending a conference in an official capacity.  Reasonable hosting expenses include travel, meals, lodging, and registration fees.  The official or employee must file a Travel Disclosure Report within 30 days of the reimbursement or event.

Example:  A city employee may accept expense reimbursements from a city vendor to travel to Washington, D.C. to participate on a panel at a professional conference and describe a city project that used the vendor’s product.

Example:  A city employee may accept a city contractor's offer to waive the registration fee for a local seminar that the employee attends in an official capacity.  The department must approve the employee's attendance at the seminar under the same procedures that it uses to approve city-financed training.

In determining whether an event is a “speaking engagement,” factors to consider are whether there is an invitation to speak, prepared remarks, a formal presentation, an audience, and a public or publicly known event.  A speaking engagement is not a sales pitch at a business meeting or comments made at a vendor briefing on a new product.

Travel Donated to the City

The City and its departments may accept gifts of travel from prohibited sources for training, travel to review a best-practices program, and other official city business under the following circumstances:

  • The travel is donated to the City or an agency
  • The City approves the travel in advance
  • The City chooses who travels
  • The official or employee travels in an official capacity
  • The expenses are reasonable
  • The department files a gift report, and the individual files a travel report

Example:  The Mayor’s office may accept a lobbyist’s offer to pay the travel costs for a fact-finding trip to review a best-practices program in another city by a committee composed of members of the City Council, employees in the planning department, and members of the Atlanta Planning Advisory Board.  

Travel Paid by Entities that Are Not Prohibited Sources

Officials or employees may accept travel expenses from other non-city sources for travel in an official capacity under the Code of Ethics.  There is no restriction on the purpose of the trip when the entity paying for the travel is not a prohibited source. If traveling on city time, the employee must receive departmental approval for the travel.

Example:  A recreation department employee may accept airfare, lodging, and meals from the National Football League’s Youth Football Fund to attend a national summit of municipal employees from the 32 NFL team cities to develop a strategic plan to promote youth football.

Example:  A city planner may accept expense reimbursements for airfare, hotel expenses, and meals from another city to participate in a peer review of that city’s planning and historic preservation program.

Example:  A City Councilmember may accept a fellowship to attend a one-month leadership training program at a private university.

Code of Ethics

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68 Mitchell Street, SW
Suite 1100
Atlanta, GA 30303