Members of the board that oversees the Department of Environmental Quality, or DEQ, were silent when asked about spending one lawmaker called "alarming."
The board members and the DEQ refused multiple requests for interviews prior to Fox 25's investigation into spending concerns by the former executive director of the agency. The investigation also revealed some board members were receiving personal perks at the expense of taxpayers.
"Would anybody be willing to offer any sort of comment regarding the spending of taxpayer money," Fox 25's Phil Cross asked board members during the public forum part of Friday's meeting. No board member responded.
Board members also refused to acknowledge which of them took part in the private, social dinner that is scheduled the night before board meetings. Those social dinners allow a legal way for board members to get reimbursements that sometimes equal out to nearly $100 per hour for scheduled meetings.
The current DEQ director told Fox 25 he would respond in writing only to our questions about the agency's spending. The DEQ is currently being audited by the state auditor's office following the sudden resignation last year of the former director.
We wanted to know if the current chairman, John Wendling, ever attended the private social dinners or received reimbursements for hotel stays. "I'm not aware of the specifics of what you're talking about, so I'm not prepared to comment right now," Wendling told Fox 25 following the meeting.
On Friday the governor's office confirmed the secretary will be meeting with the new DEQ director and then the director will meet with the board about revising the travel and meeting policies following the Fox 25 Investigation.