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Clemson state’s biggest travel spender, report shows

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Staff Report
Published Nov. 2, 2015

State universities and colleges accounted for the top four highest totals for travel spending during the most recent fiscal year, with Clemson University and the University of South Carolina leading the pack, according to a report (.pdf) from the S.C. Comptroller General’s Office.

Clemson topped the list that covered the fiscal year ended June 30, spending almost $13.5 million on travel. USC came in second at $12.7 million, with the Medical University of South Carolina, at almost $6.4 million, and the College of Charleston, at $5.7 million, finishing third and fourth, respectively.

In all, the state’s 116 agencies spent a combined $75.5 million on travel during the 2015 fiscal year.

Six state employees spent more than $60,000 on travel, and all of them hailed from Clemson. President James Clements and head football coach Dabo Swinney more than doubled the amount spent by most other agencies’ top travelers, with Clements accounting for more than $114,000 and Swinney accounting for nearly $102,000.

Football coach Brent Venables, men’s basketball coach Brad Brownell and football coaches Jeff Scott and Tony Elliott rounded out Clemson’s top six spenders.

At USC, the highest spenders were biology professor Tim Mousseau, at $52,433; assistant men’s basketball coach Perry Clark, $52,131; Kendall Roth, associate dean in the Moore School of Business, $38,688; vice provost Paul Miller, $35,950; assistant football coach Everette Sands, $34,734; and chemistry professor John Dawson, $33,247.

The report lists all travel-related expenditures, including conference registration fees. It distinguishes between in-state and out-of-state travel for each agency and shows the top 25 travelers in each agency, ranked by how much each traveler spent.

“Even with all of the new ways we communicate today, phone calls, emails and the Internet aren’t always the most effective ways for government officials and employees to exchange information and discuss important matters,” Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom said. “In these cases, travel might be necessary. But agencies serve the best interests of taxpayers by limiting travel to only the essentials. Every agency needs to consider the actual benefit it receives when it spends public funds to travel.”

The Department of Health and Environmental Control finished No. 5, spending more than $3.4 million, while the Transportation Department rounded out the top 10 at more than $1 million.

The Labor, Licensing and Regulation Department spent more than $956,000, while the Department of Employment and Workforce finished No. 15 with nearly $725,000 in expenditures. Commerce’s $440,000 was good for No. 29, while the Secretary of State’s Office spent $13,753, coming in No. 103 in the state.

The Executive Budget Office came in last, having spent only $141.54.

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