Howard County taxpayers will pay to fly County Executive James N. Robey to China next month as part of a two-week trip sponsored by the National Association of Counties.
Victoria Hastings-Goodman, a county spokeswoman, said taxpayers also will foot the bill for Robey's overnight hotel stays on his journeys to and from China.
"Once he is in China, all expenses are paid by NACo," she said.
Hastings-Goodman said she does not know the cost of the plane tickets or hotel rooms, but that Robey is "looking into paying the difference between first class and coach" out of his own pocket.
Leading the overseas trip, which begins in Beijing and ends in Hong Kong, is County Council Chairman C. Vernon Gray, NACo's president. NACo will cover Gray's expenses in full, said NACo spokesman Shawn Bullard.
Gray was not available for comment.
A NACo publication said the dozen-member delegation of county officials from around the nation will explore "social, health, business, educational and environmental opportunities and challenges."
"While touring counties that surround Beijing, NACo's delegation has been asked to discuss the role of county government and its relationship to the U.S. communications and cable industries," it said.
The itinerary also includes visits to: Yichang, for a tour of the Three-Gorge Water Conservancy, one of the largest construction projects in the world; Tianjin, to meet with officials of that city's development zone; and Kunming, to see the Horticulture Exhibition and discuss how agriculture and horticulture affect the U.S. economy.
A Chinese delegation toured Howard County, including County Council chambers, last year.
Robey and Gray are scheduled to leave Baltimore Oct. 3 and return Oct. 16.
Pub Date: 9/10/99