Travel Expense Reimbursement Policy

Library Board approved November 15, 2016. Revised January 24, 2023.

A. Purpose 

The Oak Park Public Library will reimburse staff (employee) and Library Trustee (trustee) travel, meal, and lodging expenses incurred in connection with pre-approved travel, meal, and lodging expenses incurred on behalf of the library. Employees and trustees are expected to exercise the same care in incurring expenses for official business as a prudent person would in spending personal funds. 

B. Definitions

“Entertainment” includes, but is not limited to, shows, amusements, theaters, circuses, sporting events, or any other place of public or private entertainment or amusement, unless ancillary to the purpose of the program or event. 

“Travel” means any expenditure directly related to official travel by employees and trustees of the Oak Park Public Library involving reimbursement for travel.

“Traveler” is an Oak Park Public Library employee or trustee.

C. Authorized Types of Official Business 

Travel, meal, and lodging expenses shall be reimbursed for employees and trustees of the Oak Park Public Library only for purposes of official business conducted on behalf of the Oak Park Public Library, which includes but is not limited to off-site or out-of-town meetings related to official business and pre-approved seminars, conferences, and other educational events related to the employee’s or trustee’s official duties. 

D. Maximum Allowable Expenses  

Maximum Expenses Without Board Approval: Travel, meal, and lodging expenses incurred by any employee in excess of an average of $750 per day must be previously approved in an open meeting by a majority roll-call vote of the Board of Library Trustees. The board may approve exceptions to this limit in emergency or other extraordinary circumstances.

Airfare: Travelers are expected to obtain the lowest available airfare that reasonably meets business travel needs. Travelers are encouraged to book flights at least thirty days in advance to avoid premium airfare pricing. Only coach or economy tickets will be paid or reimbursed. The traveler will pay for the difference between higher priced tickets and coach or economy tickets with their personal funds.

Transportation: The traveler should use hotel shuttle service or other shuttle services if available. If none are offered, the use of the most economic transportation is encouraged.

Public or Personal Transportation: In the case of local training or official business where an employee or trustee chooses to use public or personal transportation, reimbursement for use of public or personal transportation is based on mileage from the agency office to the training site (not from the traveler’s residence), regardless of the transportation method chosen. When attending training or business directly from an employee’s or trustee’s residence, no reimbursement will be made if the distance is less than the mileage of a normal commute to the workplace. If the distance is higher than the traveler’s normal commute, reimbursement will be paid at the differential of the commute less the mileage of a normal commute to the workplace.

Automobile Rentals: Travelers will be reimbursed for the cost of renting an automobile including gasoline expense only as limited in this section. Travelers using rental cars to conduct official business are required to purchase full-coverage insurance through the rental agency. Compact or mid–size cars are required for two or fewer employees or trustees traveling together and a full–size vehicle may be used for three or more travelers. The traveler must refuel the vehicle before returning it to the rental company unless fuel is prepaid, whichever is more cost-effective.

Lodging: The traveler will be reimbursed for a standard single room at a location convenient to the business activity. In the event of a change in plans or a cancellation, the traveler must cancel the lodging reservation so as not to incur cancellation charges. Cancellation charges will not be reimbursed by the library unless approved by a board vote. 

Meals & Incidentals: Meal reimbursement is limited to the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) rates at the time the expense occurs. Per-diem checks may be requested by a traveler for meals and incidentals by submitting a completed expense report for approval thirty days prior to travel.

Meals provided by the conference or seminar should be deducted from the per-diem allowance. Partial reimbursement may be made for departure and return days based on time per GSA guidelines. Meals during in-State travel that are not an overnight stay will be reimbursed for actual cost not to exceed the GSA regulations with receipts submitted within thirty days of the last day of travel.

Vacation in Conjunction with Business Travel: In cases where vacation time is added to a business trip, any cost variance in airfare, car rental, lodging and/or any other expenses must be clearly identified on the Expense Report form and paid for by the traveler.

Accompanied Travel: When a traveler is accompanied by others not on official business, any lodging, transportation, meals or other expenses above those incurred for the authorized traveler will not be reimbursed by the library.

Parking: Parking fees at a lodging will be reimbursed only with a receipt.

E. Documentation of Expenses 

Before an expense for travel, meals, or lodging may be approved, the following minimum documentation must first be submitted, in writing, to the board or, if below the maximum allowable expense, designated library administration.

All documents and information submitted under this Section are public records subject to disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act. 

The library hereby adopts as its official standardized form for the submission of travel, meal, and lodging expenses as OPPL Travel Expense Report.

F. Entertainment Expenses

No employee or officer shall be reimbursed for entertainment expense, unless ancillary to the purpose of the program, event or other official business. 

No employee or trustee shall be reimbursed for any liquor or other controlled substance.

G. Compliance with the Local Government Travel Expense Control Act

The library shall comply with all other requirements of the act, and any library policy, procedure, or resolution that conflicts with the provisions of the act is hereby repealed to the extent of such conflict.

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